The purpose of the assignment was to support Sida at the Swedish Embassy in Hanoi in a mid-term assessment of the contribution of development cooperation to the democracy and human rights situation in Vietnam, measured by indicators based on international human rights standards. Three joint Swedish/Sida-Vietnamese working groups on health, decentralisation and the legal sector were assisted in identifying appropriate sets of rights and indicators to be achieved and setting the terms of reference for three sectoral evaluations. These sectoral evaluations formed the basis for the synthesis report .
The country strategy for the Swedish-Vietnamese development cooperation 2004-2008 required Sida to make a mid-term assessment of the contribution of development cooperation to the situation of democracy and human rights in Vietnam, measured by indicators based on human rights standards from international conventions.
A joint Swedish/Sida-Vietnamese working group was formed in Hanoi and selected three sectors for the assessment: health, decentralisation and the legal sector. Sets of rights were identified and subsequently the indicators for achievement in each of the sectors were chosen, as well as the means of verification and data sources.
The framework for analysing the contribution of Swedish development cooperation to the promotion and protection of democracy and human rights in Vietnam was based on three main elements from the human-rights-based approach (HRBA) to development, an approach initiated by various United Nations agencies:
These three main HRBA elements match with the strategic orientation of the Swedish-Vietnamese development cooperation in each sector. Indicators were therefore developed accordingly.
The identification and selection process was based on a methodology paper written by Human European Consultancy partner, Marcel Zwamborn, who also assisted in the identification and selection process.
Based on this preparatory work, field missions and studies were conducted for each of the sectors by independent consultants. The findings and analyses from these studies were included in the synthesis report.
The first deliverable was a methodology paper which formed the basis for discussions and the selection of sectors by the Swedish-Vietnamese working group.
The sectoral reports as such were not published but informed the synthesis report which served as an input for the mid-term review of Swedish-Vietnamese development cooperation 2004-2008.
The overall conclusion with regard to the contribution made by the cooperation between Sweden and Vietnam to the situation of democracy and human rights was that different positive effects were clearly demonstrated in the assessment, at policy and strategy level as well as the level of programmes and projects.
Human rights entitlement was found to have increased in each of the sectors during the period covered by the Swedish-Vietnamese development cooperation. The actual enjoyment of rights which are important from the perspective of democratic values in relation to participation, such as the right to information, the right to association and the right to remedy and redress, are still subject to scrutiny by the Government and the ruling Party and are not fully guaranteed in legislation and policy.
Where these rights are found to have been enjoyed in the actual situation of programmes and projects this has had a positive impact on the effectiveness of the programmes and projects concerned.
The three sector studies have shown the relevance of the HRBA across the various sectors. For example, decentralisation based on HRBA principles is important for health and access to justice, but access to justice is likewise important for the enjoyment of the right to health or participation in self-determination.
The participatory process by means of which the assessment was conducted enhanced commitment to and ownership of the assessment exercise as well as its outcome and there is the possibility of a continuation in a more sophisticated form.