By Koh Byung-joon
SEOUL, May 27 (Yonhap) -- South Korea will provide US$4.9 million for a U.N. aid project for North Korea aimed at enhancing understanding of global statistical principles in the communist nation, the unification ministry said Wednesday.
A civilian-government committee on inter-Korean exchanges approved the plan to fund the project of the U.N. Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), according to the ministry. The money will be spent over the next six years, with $720,000 set aside for this year.
The fund will be used mostly in improving North Korean people's understanding of international principles on statistics and usability of data as part of efforts to enhance the country's sustainable development capacity, the ministry said.
North Korea lags far behind other countries in generating and using trustworthy statistics. The North rarely discloses economic statistics and other data on its society.
The ministry expects such education efforts on statistics will make it easier for North Korea to be integrated into the international community in the future and possibly create a single unified market between the two Koreas.
In close cooperation with UNESCAP, the ministry said it will make sure the project proceeds as planned and strengthen transparency on how the money will be used in North Korea by getting an annual report from the U.N. agency.
UNESCAP spearheads efforts to resolve such global issues as poverty and pollution by enhancing sustainable development capacity of its member countries.
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