NEPCAP to maximise research impact into policy and practice

Area Studies - International Institute of Korean Studies

A new research-driven initiative at the University of Central Lancashire aims to maximise research impact into policy and practice.

The Northern England Policy Centre for the Asia Pacific (NEPCAP), officially launched in June 2018, focuses on various fields of studies related to issues in the Asia Pacific region.

Among the initiatives underway is a roundtable series for policymakers and practitioners, in line with academic policy research. NEPCAP will also produce a regular policy brief series built upon research papers about up-to-date policy issues of domestic politics, international relations, security, society and development cooperation.

The people behind NEPCAP

The policy centre is overseen by Dr Sojin Lim, Senior Lecturer in Korean Studies, who is also MA North Korean Studies course leader as well as Deputy Director of the International Institute of Korean Studies.

Other academics who are involved in the initiative and research include colleagues from Asia Pacific Studies at the School of Language and Global Studies at UCLan: Dr Niki Alsford, Reader and Academic Lead, and Director of the International Institute of Korean Studies; Dr Ed Griffith, Senior Lecturer and Course Leader; and Dr Lara Momesso, Lecturer.

Current research projects on North Korea: North Korea and the United Nations

In April 2018, Dr Sojin Lim has received a research grant from the Academy of Korean Studies for her current research project on “North Korea and the United Nations: Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the context of fragile state”.

Based on her expertise in SDGs and development policy and practice, this ongoing research will bring an impact such as policy change in donor governments, international organisations or NGOs in terms of supporting North Korea under the SDGs context.

At the same time, this can provide a benchmark for international development cooperation stakeholders when they provide development aid to fragile states. It is expected the research results can be used by the governments of developing countries, as well as academics and various policy makers.

Multi-stakeholders, Multi-layered Partnerships

In preparation for the project, Dr Lim presented “Multi-stakeholders, Multi-layered Partnerships” in the context of SDGs as part of her research at the North-East Asia Development Cooperation Forum 2017, in Moscow, Russia on 28th September 2017.

Dr Lim explained that SDGs have enormously addressed global issues, which were missed out in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) along with unfinished business. In turn, the goals which we have to achieve by 2030 have been much more numerous, complex, and, thus, challenging to implement and monitor. At the same time, the SDGs require multi-layered partnerships due to an increased number of stakeholders at multi-levels.

As President of the World Bank Jim Yong Kim once stated, we will need trillions of dollars to achieve SDGs, compared to that of billions for MDGs. However, as we have only achieved almost half of success for MDGs, we can easily think that those billions were not successfully collected and invested when we look at the financial aspects.

In her presentation, Dr Lim argued that we need to begin thinking out of box when we discuss the engagement of the private sector in SDGs implementation. At the same time, we need to define our regional keywords to focus on as a starting point, such as capacity building for both soft and hard, and financial and non-financial terms.

She provided a practical suggestion: establishment of the “SDGs Implementation NEA Regional Action Group” within the region. In more detail, the presentation suggests using an existing platform of NEA Development Cooperation Forum, but in the newly designed form of Trust Fund. It will need to integrate parts of each country’s large initiatives along with academics, practitioners, government officials and the private sector. Finally, it is also suggested considering the North-East Asia (NEA) Peer Review Mechanism and the Regional Survey (possibly, led by the UNESCAP) for the progress monitoring and evaluation.

For more information about NEPCAP or other research and initiatives in Korean Studies and Asia Pacific Studies at the School of Language and Global Studies, contact Dr Lim via email at