Table of Contents

  • The Assessment of Development Results (ADR) Bhutan report presents the findings of the evaluation of UNDP’s contributions in Bhutan, carried out by the Evaluation Office (EO) of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in 2006. It is one of seven ADRs completed in 2006. An ADR is conducted in response to the requirements of the evaluation policy of UNDP endorsed by the UNDP Executive Board in June 2006, which calls for an independent country-level evaluation of UNDP’s attainment of its intended and achieved results as well as its contributions to the development results of the countries where it works. The aim of the ADR is to generate lessons for strengthening country-level programming and contribute to the organization’s effectiveness and substantive accountability.

  • Bhutan is in the midst of a historic transition from monarchy to a full-fledged democracy after having established peace, stability and impressive gains in human development. High expectations to successfully manage the transition make it even more important for Bhutan’s development partners—national and international—to reflect upon future support in order to further accelerate and sustain progress in the coming years. This is an opportune moment for UNDP to assess, and if needed, reposition and restructure its assistance to Bhutan in order to enhance development effectiveness. The Assessment of Development Results (ADR) exercise is timely in that it is an independent evaluation of UNDP’s contribution to Bhutan’s development, the results of which will be used as an input to UNDP’s next country programme (2008-2012) in Bhutan.

  • Bhutan is a small country of 672,425 people. It is located in South Asia at the foot of the Himalayas and is landlocked between two of the world’s most populous nations: India and China. With a per capita gross national income of USD 1,005 in 2005—40 percent higher than India and more than 70 percent higher than the average income of low income countries—Bhutan has recorded impressive gains in human development after ending its selfimposed isolation in 1961. Life expectancy at birth has increased from 42 years during 1970-1975 to 66 years in 2004, and the infant mortality rate has been more than halved from 156 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1970 to 40 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2005. The country’s human development index (HDI) has grown steadily from 0.325 in 1984 to 0.583 in 2003, placing Bhutan in the category of medium human development countries. Policymaking and programming in Bhutan are uniquely guided by the concept of gross national happiness (GNH), which emphasizes sustainable and equitable socioeconomic development, conservation of environment, preservation and promotion of culture and promotion of good governance.

  • In 1961, Bhutan ended its self-imposed isolation when the late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, the third monarch, launched the country on a path to modern development. Until then, Bhutan was a self-contained traditional rural society. People cultivated as much as they needed and had a sustainable relationship with nature. They bred animals, wove their own clothes and made pottery. There were practically no motorable roads; yaks, mules and horses were the principal modes of transport.

  • Starting with an initial allocation of USD 2.5 million for the first country programme (1973-1976), UNDP has since provided approximately USD 115 million in assistance to Bhutan across a number of fields from telecommunications and civil aviation to horticulture and promotion of cultural heritage.

  • This chapter examines issues relating to UNDP’s strategic positioning and options for the future. It is based on an assessment of UNDP Bhutan’s comparative strengths, an identification of factors contributing to and limiting UNDP’s effectiveness, and an evaluation of UNDP’s relevance and responsiveness. Critical aspects of UNDP’s partnership strategy are also analyzed and discussed.

  • UNDP Bhutan has played an important supportive role in enhancing human development in Bhutan. Over the years, it has emerged as a trusted partner of RGoB. Moreover, the CO has established its credibility with other development partners as an effective stakeholder in the country’s development.