SIDA lays down conditions for democratic development and human rights

For the first time since Sweden began to support Vietnam with foreign aid over 30 years ago does a new aid package come with strings attached on democratic development, greater openness and human rights.
     “To support Vietnam’s road towards larger openness, democracy and respect for human rights is another main task for Swedish aid. Sida has previously provided aid for improved legislation and judiciary. That work will be intensified. There are conditions on democratic development and greater respect for human rights in the strategy. An evaluation will be conducted after 2.5 years which will affect the continued level and direction of our aid,” writes Sida in a comment to the new strategy.
     The unorthodox move, Sweden has traditionally not conditioned foreign aid in this way, is included in the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency’s (Sida) proposal for a new five year strategy, published Friday 14 November when it was handed to the government in Stockholm.
     Otherwise the strategy comes with few surprises. Three main areas are targeted for the coming five years support: civil administration, rural development and efforts for fair distribution of healthcare resources.
     Poverty in Vietnam has been reduced from 58 percent of the population 1990 to 29 percent now, and that during a period of strong economic growth, which indicates that the increased prosperity also has benefited the poor, argues Sida.
     Sweden’s aid to Vietnam will probably land at some SEK 300 to 380 million per year, which makes Vietnam one of the largest recipients of Swedish aid.

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