Despite a decrease in poverty in all regions of Vietnam over the previous ten years, the reduction was not evenly distributed between different groups and places - poverty remained a largely rural phenomenon, and was particularly pronounced among ethnic minority groups. The aim of the Northern Mountains Poverty Reduction Project (NMPRP) was to target six rural provinces in Vietnam’s Northern Mountain Region with two main objectives; to reduce poverty and strengthen participatory management at the commune level (in the provinces). The project will invest in 44 districts in the six provinces, benefiting approx. one million, of whom 85% will be ethnic minorities.

The Project was the second stage of a policy study for the UNDP’s Regional Energy Programme for Poverty Reduction (REP-PoR). The ultimate goal of the project was to arrive at policy recommendations to governments and to the UNDP on how to minimise the negative impacts and increase the benefits of trade on the poor within the context of helping countries meet their Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The study as a whole had components at the global, regional and national levels. The overall project examines the linkages between international energy trade and poverty in the Asia-Pacific context. The study was supported by multiple national level case studies.

Between 2000 and 2025, the urban population of East Asia (including South East Asia) is expected to increase by 500 million, or 65%, compared to an overall population increase of 17%. Accommodating this increase in a sustainable and equitable manner will represent one of the major development challenges in the coming decades. Further demands on land will come from the need to provide for industrial and commercial development in certain countries. There has been a general lack of synthesized information, especially quantitative, on most topics related to the urban fringe as well as policy measures that can lead to urban fringe development that encourages growth, is environmentally sustainable, is inclusive (not marginalising the poor) and addresses the needs of current occupiers.

The program was designed with a rights-based approach to poverty alleviation by means of promoting participation, grassroots democracy and transparency. The The Chia Se Program included four different projects, one national project and three provincial projects (in the Ha Giang, Yen Bai and Quang Tri provinces). The role of the Sida Advisory Team (SAT) was to function as professional advisors to Sida in order to strengthen the quality of Sida follow-up activities in rural development. Quality was interpreted in a wide sense including technical, institutional and managerial aspects. The SAT provided advice to the Embassy of Sweden in regards to the long-term reduction of poverty, a rights-based approach to development, and improved donor coordination and harmonization.

The Development Objective of Seed Component was sustainable growth in productivity and farm household income from qualitative and quantitative improvements in agricultural production and marketing, with special focus on the poor, women and ethnic minorities. The component had two immediate objectives; a) sustainable growth in production, supply, and use of high quality food crop seeds, and b) improved economic efficiency in the production, marketing and use of food crop seeds. This project made an overall assessment of the Seed Component in relation to development and its immediate objectives, as well as other issues (i.e. environmental, sectoral, gender, ethnic minorities).