About Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)


The Democratic People's Republic of Korea is a country in East Asia, in the northern half of the Korean Peninsula. Its capital is Pyongyang, the country's largest city by both land area and population.


 UNESCO Cultural heritage in DPRKThe UNESCO World Heritage sites listed the scenic Tomb of King Tongmyong (259-298BC), located some 20km south of Pyongyang.


The conclusion of World War II in 1945 left the peninsula divided between the North and South along lat. 38 degrees N (or, the 38th parallel). In 1948, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) was proclaimed. In 1950, the Korean War began; in 1953, an armistice was signed. Following the war, the DPRK state pursued a programme of reconstruction, consolidation and nation-building along socialistic and centralised economic lines.

The United Nations Development Programme started its work in the DPRK in 1979. UNDP helped facilitate the international response to famine in the 1990s and served to provide exposure for local officials and citizens to international norms and standards. UNDP’s work in DPRK is people-centric and based on human development. Its focus has been sharply on grassroots interventions in rural areas.


Prior to the 1990s, the DPRK had achieved relatively high levels of human development in terms of life expectancy, infant mortality, access to health services, water and sanitation. The loss of the socialist markets and the natural disasters in the 1990s saw a reversal of many of the Human Development Index indicators: per capita income fell by 50 percent, life expectancy declined and the infant mortality rate increased.


To restore the economy to the level attained before 1990 and to resume economic growth to improve the living standards of the people, the DPRK government introduced economic measures. The gross domestic product (GDP) gradually increased from US$10.6 billion in 2000 to about $12.3 billion in 2010. However, GDP growth remains weak. To increase agriculture productivity, loss reduction, diversification and management improvements are promoted.

UNDP is intervening in this sector through support to improvement of seed quality and production, and reducing post-harvest losses. To improve the energy situation, capacity expansion and increased production are emphasised. UNDP is intervening in this sector through support to small-scale renewable energy promotion in rural areas.