Performance and Challenges of the Policy of Improving Quality of Life

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Performance and Challenges of the Policy of Improving Quality of Life
○ After the enactment of the Special Act on the Improvement of the Quality of Life in 2005, the 1st and 2nd Improvement Plans for Quality of Life were established and are now in the course of implementation.- The Improvement Plans present hopeful visions for agricultural and fishing villages based on the pan-government cooperative system. - As part of the plans, the government has introduced and implemented advanced institutions including the rural services standard and the rural proofing. ○ The government has achieved expected results including the improvement of infrastructure thanks to the increase in the budget allocated for the policy of improving quality of life.- Diversified support measures have been provided for the health, welfare and education sectors, along with the enhancement of infrastructure.- Economic performances have been achieved with sales growth and job creation in local community. - The ratio of rural residents who are satisfied with the quality of life in rural areas has been on the rise. ○ Some parts of the plans need to be improved: the Life Quality Improvement Committee has limited functions as the control tower; the plans need more participation of government institutions; and the establishment and implementation of rural-sensitive policies are insufficient.- The current policies are implemented focusing on performance and policy providers while rural residents cannot experience actual benefits of services.- High value-added projects in the field of economic activities have shown insufficient performance, and attempts to build agents’ capacity and promote environment conservation in rural areas have also led to unsatisfactory results.- The inspection and evaluation of policies have a weak binding force, and there is no method to provide incentives based on results of the evaluation.- It is difficult to approach the plans comprehensively at local government level as local governments have little interest in the policy of improving quality of life, and working groups in charge of each agricultural item are dealing with tasks related to the plans. - Employed advanced institutions including the rural services standard and the rural proofing are hardly realistic and effective. ○ The direction of the 3rd Improvement Plan for Quality of Life should be decided by comprehensively identifying performance and problems of the previous plans.- Considering the consistency with the government agenda, the authorities should develop policy goals that enhance the awareness of rural residents, and strengthen the policy transmission system.- The government should also consider a mid- and long-term policy paradigm including the preservation of the multifunctionality of agriculture and rural areas.- The rural services standard needs to be reformed focusing on the key items based on the national minimum criteria, and these key items should be connected with the seven sectors of the Improvement Plan for Quality of Life to successfully accomplish the goal.- The system and methods of the implementation of the rural proofing should be reformed to effectively respond to timely issues.- The authorities should develop projects that require interdepartmental cooperation under the leadership of the Life Quality Improvement Committee, and run the committee constantly by organizing subcommittees of key themes.- The authorities should gather opinions from rural areas by organizing and running the nationwide Life Quality Monitoring Group. - The government should design plans to provide incentives to local governments based on their performance of the policy of improving quality of life.
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