Korea, Rep.

Case study

Closing the Republic of Korea's Infrastructure Gap through Sustainable Public-Private Partnerships, 1994–2005

This case study reviews the evolution of public–private partnership (PPP) policy in the Republic of Korea in chronological order and identifies the lessons learned. It describes the background of the country’s innovative infrastructure financing scheme in the early 1990s and the policy measures that were used to promote private investment in the wake of the Asian financial crisis in the late 1990s. 


Ahram Han

Ahram joined the Global Delivery Initiative team in January 2020. Prior to joining the World Bank, she studied sustainable development at the Korea Development Institute School of Public Policy, where she completed her Master of Development Policy degree and wrote a GDI case studies.

Case study

Overcoming the Not-in-My-Backyard Phenomenon in Waste Management: How Seoul Worked with a Citizens’ Opposition Movement and Built Incineration Facilities to Dispose of the City’s Waste, 1991–2013

Proper waste disposal is difficult, especially when no one wants disposal facilities in his or her neighborhood. A sound waste management plan has to consider both environmental sustainability and the wishes of the local community.

Case study

Integrating Geospatial Information: How the Republic of Korea Overcame Institutional Obstacles to Improve Data Management, 1998–2016

Following two gas explosions in 1995 that resulted from poor management of information on underground pipes, the Republic of Korea accelerated its efforts to update and integrate spatial data, such as underground maps. The Ministry of Construction and Transportation (which became the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport in 2013) led the integration initiative, but the ministry faced a lack of cooperation from counterpart ministries and agencies. It was often at a stalemate with its main counterpart, the Ministry of Home Affairs: the two ministries could not reach a consensus over how land-related information should be collected, managed, and shared. This case study describes how the land ministry overcame these challenges by seeking mediation or windows of opportunity through higher bureaucratic channels, and by leveraging its experience and resources to scale up geospatial data integration. From its start combining just two datasets in 1998, it went on to establish a fully integrated geospatial data system consisting of nearly 80 datasets from different agencies, which it then disseminated across the entire nation. By 2016, the Republic of Korea’s National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) had not only prevented further disasters, but also dramatically reduced administrative costs and inefficiencies in the public sector. The integrated data system also enabled government officials to make better-informed policy decisions.

Case study

The Republic of Korea’s First 70 Days of Responding to the COVID-19 Outbreak

The COVID-19 pandemic has become a daunting global crisis with profound health, economic, and social impacts felt across the world.


New GDI Analysis: Learning from Case Studies of Past Epidemics and the Republic of Korea’s Response to COVID-19

As policymakers and development practitioners seek to respond to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, many are seeking to learn from potential good practices and past experiences. New GDI analysis examines some of these experiences through the lens of GDI case studies.

Case study

Innovating Inter-Agency Collaboration for a Smart Emergency Response System: Daejeon Smart City Operation Center, 2010-2017

Facing a rise in crime and emergency situations, the Korean city of Daejeon collaborated with the national government to implement a “smart city” solution that enabled real-time information-sharing in criminal investigations and emergency response.

Case study

Participatory Mapmaking: How Seoul Made Geospatial Data More Available, Accessible, and Useful, 2007–2018

In the wake of a series of unfortunate accidents in the mid-1990s, citizens called for stronger safety measures and infrastructure mapping in the Republic of Korea. This was particularly the case in Seoul, home to a quarter of the Korean population.