Paved with Good Intentions: The NGO Experience in North Korea

Paved with Good Intentions: The NGO Experience in North Korea

Paved with Good Intentions: The NGO Experience in North Korea

Paved with Good Intentions: The NGO Experience in North Korea

Synopsis

Following disastrous floods in 1995, North Korea appealed to the international community for assistance. An unprecedented number of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) responded, bringing humanitarian assistance and reflief. With their arrival came hopes for a more open, engaged North Korea. The authors of Paved with Good Intentions explore the varying experiences of U.S., South Korean, and European NGOs--and some of the obstacles that have placed those hopes on hold. Intended to assist policy makers, the NGO community, and others interested in engaging North Korea, Paved With Good Intentions is the first book to take an inside look at the NGO experience in North Korea.

Excerpt

With news headlines dominated by reports of the latest developments in what appears to be a new nuclear crisis on the Korean peninsula, it is difficult to recall a time that may ultimately be regarded as a temporary lull in tensions there. The conclusion of a “Framework Agreement” between the United States and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) in October of 1994 helped defuse the immediate tensions surrounding the previous nuclear crisis and also served as a foundation for an unprecedented expansion in ties, not only between the United States and North Korea, but also between North Korea and the international community. The strongest evidence for this came when, in response to chronic food shortages and severe flooding in the summer of 1995, North Korea appealed to the international community for help. In addition to the response of national governments and international organizations such as the United Nations' World Food Program, an unprecedented number of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) joined the effort to address North Korea's humanitarian needs.

As the number of NGOs working in North Korea expanded, it became increasingly apparent that their interaction with the DPRK government and the scope of their activities within the country offered an unprecedented window upon what is perhaps the most isolated regime on earth. While smaller in scale than the activities of the major international humanitarian and development agencies, the rapid engagement of the NGO community in a variety of activities ranging from agriculture to energy to medicine promised not only a relatively broad view of a wide geographic swath of North Korea but also insights into different sectors of society.

This edited volume is the product of a two-year study on the activities of NGOs working in and with the DPRK. Based on the presumption that the unprecedented opening of North Korea to such NGOs would lead to a greater understanding of the situation and possible changes occurring in North Korea, the authors of this work first conducted a broad survey of the available literature from U.S., European, and

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