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The overall objective of the 2008 – 2013 strategy is poverty reduction, which is in alignment with the poverty reduction strategy of the Bhutanese government. Further, the strategy will mainstream gender equality, sustainable use of the environment, democratisation, good governance, human rights and popular participation.

The goals for the 10th FYP are based on the 2005 census, which was the first census conducted in Bhutan. This has enabled Bhutan to establish a more accurate baseline for measuring development and has thus resulted in a number of adjustments of the previous and quite insufficient baseline figures used for the 9th FYP.

Photo: Young woman reading the paper in a market inThimphu – Photo: Mikkel Østergaard

Young woman reading the paper in a market inThimphu – Photo: Mikkel Østergaard

4.1 Social Sector Programme Support

Goals for support to the social sectors by 2013
  • Child (under 5) mortality less than <30/1000
  • Maternal mortality rate less than 100/100,000
  • Improve proportion of population within 3 hours walking distance of a health facility to more than 90%
  • Access to safe drinking water >95%
  • Primary net enrolment rate near 100%
  • Proportion of females to males in tertiary education at least 80/100
  • Accommodate 70% of school leavers pursuing a vocational education.
  • 100% of courses conducted in vocational training institutes are in line with the
  • labour market demand

Denmark has supported Bhutan’s health sector for more than 15 years and the education sector since 2003. Both sectors are given high priority by the Royal Government with approximately 24% of the total outlay of the FYP to the sectors. The Constitution of Bhutan states that the Royal Government shall provide free access to basic health services and provide free education to all children up to tenth grade. Compulsory education is yet to be introduced. Based on the sound and well-prepared sector plans the Danish assistance was shifted to sector budget support, which will also be the modality for the new programme.

The sector budget support gives the sectors the necessary flexibility to adjust priorities when needed and to ensure that all parts of the plan can be supported. The basis of Danish sector budget support is to give equal access for all to health and education services. Technical reviews carried out in the sectors also confirmed that the implementation followed the intentions of the plans with special emphasis on primary health and primary education. Hence, the Social Sector Programme Support was designed as a sector budget support aimed at both sectors. The specific implementation plans, the sectors’ capacity to implement the plans and ability to attract additional funding will, through discussions with the GNH Commission and Ministry of Finance, determine the distribution of the Danish assistance between the sectors. As for the previous support, the monitoring will be based on goals and indicators from the implementation plans with special emphasis on indicators leading towards fulfilling the goals for Education For All and the Millennium Development Goals. A recent progress report on achieving the Millennium Development Goals has shown that Bhutan on the whole is on track with all the goals and that some of the goals most likely will be realised before 2015.

As mentioned under 3.2 the main challenges for the social sector will be to improve the quality of services in health as well as education and to ensure equal access for all. Therefore, it will be necessary to allocate sufficient funds for human resources and strategic planning development as well as infrastructure maintenance in the 10th FYP. During the implementation of the programme, emphasis will be on monitoring the development in the quality of services as well as on access for all with special focus on the “unreached”, a significant number of mainly rural people who for different reasons do not make use of the health and education services.

The Social Sector Programme Support has an earmarked component allocated to vocational education and training. The objective is to link the education system and the vocational education system to the private sector to ensure that the training programmes offered are in line with market demands. To achieve this the component will focus on a few strategic objectives of the overall Vocational Education and Training Plan and in particular enhancing access, upgrading qualifications of instructors, improving quality assurance, strengthening employment promotion services and finally strengthening the human resource department in the Ministry of Labour and Human Resources, which will be responsible for the overall implementation of the Vocational Education and Training Plan, including curriculum development, training of trainers and in-country training for the private sector.

Thus the programme’s support to private sector development will mainly be through the supporting vocational education and training component. However, an increasing number of private schools are coming up in Bhutan encouraged by the Ministry of Education. Bhutan maintains free health services for all. Considerations are going on in the Ministry of Health to look at possibilities of privatising both procurement and distribution of the drugs supply in Bhutan. The Danish supported programme will closely monitor further developments in the education and health areas of special interest to the private sector to promote further private sector involvement.

The Royal Government is fully aware of the grave threat that HIV/AIDS poses and considers it not merely as a health issue but a critical development concern that could severely affect growth and productivity. Therefore, a National AIDS programme has been initiated. Bhutan intends to implement a National HIV/AIDS Policy, which will support additional measures to prevent mother to child transmission, provide anti-retroviral treatment and standardized care and support for people living with HIV/ AIDS, besides the general efforts of prevention. Since the discovery of two individual HIV/AIDS infection cases in 1993, the number of registered infected individuals has grown to 125 as of October 2007.

The Social Sector Programme Support is being implemented from 2008.

4.2 Good Governance Programme

Goals for support to Good Governance
  • Support to the Constitutional process to ensure free and fair elections.
  • An independent and accessable judiciary, including a legal representation system.
  • A well functioning and fair land policy and administration.
  • Civil society organisations based on the approved Bhutan Civil Society Organizations Act established.
  • Local governments established with at least 24% of government resources administered at decentralised levels.

Denmark intends to continue to support good governance through a joint harmonised donor support aligned to the 10th Five Year Plan. It is expected that the joint programme will aim at supporting 1) the constitutional bodies; 2) the local government development; 3) non state actors.

As one of the results of the review of Good Governance carried out by the Bhutanese Government in 2005 a number of activities and institutions were identified, which should be in place before the constitution and the parliamentary democracy were introduced. The review took stock of the impressive development within good governance and the rule of law and presented a roadmap for future developments. The Danish assistance will take its point of departure in the roadmap, concentrating on constitutional institutions needed for supporting democracy and on activities promoting rule of law. Support to Bhutan’s constitutional bodies including the Election Commission and the Judiciary, as well as the National Assembly, the National Land Commission, crucial public financial management areas and the civil service will thus be part of the Good Governance Programme.

The judiciary in Bhutan has developed significantly during the last 6 – 8 years. However, further developments are needed to regard the judiciary as the guarantor of a society built on the rule of law. Alignment of existing laws to the new constitution will be a major task after 2008. As more lawyers are introduced into the system, the professional law firms will be able to provide and guarantee legal assistance in all areas of legal service including professional representation. The continuing practice of hiring para-legals or traditional legal representatives may be discontinued once private law firms are gradually established. Through the Good Governance Programme these issues will be addressed in close cooperation with the judiciary in Bhutan.

Denmark will, together with UNDP, UNCDF and other development partners, support the local government reform through capacity development and by contributing to the Government’s block grants mechanism for the local governments. The major part of this programme is therefore expected to be sector budget support directly to the block grant for the decentralised levels.

The Bhutan Civil Society Organization legislation has been enacted in 2007. With the upcoming constitution introducing parliamentary democracy, a thriving civil society is needed to give citizens a voice and to form civil society organisations catering to the different needs of Bhutan. Close coordination between all Danish supported programmes will be sought to maximise support to private sector organisations, to assist in setting up local committees and to promote women’s representation in elected and government bodies at all levels. As part of the capacity building to these new institutions contact to and possible twinning with relevant Danish NGOs may be explored.

Support to the Joint Good Governance Programme is foreseen to be budget support to the Government’s fiscal decentralisation to local governments, and earmarked support to the constitutional bodies and the non-state actors. The monitoring of development will be on selected indicators leading towards the goals for the Danish support and based on the Government’s monitoring and evaluation system.

4.3 Environment and Urban Development Programme

Goals for support to environment and Urban Development
  • Improved basic infrastructure in selected district towns
  • Bhutan’s forest cover maintained at 60%
  • Farmer’s average income increased significantly
  • Farmers’ associations established

The support will be targeted at the agriculture and urban sectors with special emphasis on natural resources management and regional development. The indicators for the programme will be focusing on interventions at the field and district town level and will thus support the 10th FYP’s strategy of rural development and balanced development at regional and local levels.

The support to the natural resource management will be based on the development plans worked out at the decentralised level, which will also help ensure accountability for the sustainable use of the natural resources, and will thus assist the farmers in implementing their own plans for improving their livelihood. A minor part will be for planning and capacity building to the Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Works and Human Settlement.

The support to the urban development will be a continuation of the first phase, concentrating on basic infrastructure in a number of district towns. The support will assist the Government in its policy to curb rural– urban migration by creating the necessary environment for good-quality social services and growth of small and medium size enterprises through the provision of basic infrastructure.

The support will be in the form of budget support directly to the decentralised level funding the gewogs’ (communes) and the towns’ own plans for development. In close cooperation with the activities funded under the Good Governance programme assistance will be given to farmers to establish local farmers associations and to create local democracy by setting up elected town committees. Thus the programme will strengthen decentralisation, local level public financial management and direct involvement of communities and community organisations including private sector participation in the implementation of the activities.

Considerations of the effects of the climate changes and relevant adaptive measures will be included in the programme, part of which will be based on the climate screening of all Danish programmes to be undertaken in 2008.

Photo: Mountain view, more than 60% of Bhutan is covered by forest – Photo: Mikkel Østergaard

Mountain view, more than 60% of Bhutan is covered by forest – Photo: Mikkel Østergaard

This page forms part of the publication 'BHUTAN-DENMARK PARTNERSHIP' as chapter 4 of 8
Version 1.0. 08-03-2009
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