Evaluation report: The Transition Process of Finnish-Vietnamese Cooperation in 2008–2020

This independent evaluation assessed the transition process of Finnish-Vietnamese cooperation during 2008–2020. It strategically assessed the successes and weaknesses of transitioning and how Finland’s development cooperation has supported this transition towards more diverse and equal cooperation. Furthermore, the evaluation analyzed how have development cooperation and private sector instruments and actors achieved coherence and synergy. The report also highlights broader lessons from the transition of Finnish-Vietnamese cooperation for similar processes in Finland’s other partner countries.

Vietnam has been one of Finland’s main develop­ment cooperation partner countries for almost four decades. Given the rapid economic growth in Vietnam, Finland and Vietnam embarked upon a transition pro­cess lasting from 2008 until 2020 aiming to decrease the bilateral development cooperation while strengthening trade and new type of cooperation and partnerships.

The evaluation concluded that bilateral development cooperation decreased while other type of cooperation has steadily increased. Over the course of the transition process, the center of attention and support modalities has moved noticeably in the direction of the private sector. Trade and investments have become important vehicles to achieve development objectives and create a mutually beneficial partnership. This has led to a significant increase in trade and in­vestments between the two countries, particular­ly Vietnamese exports to Finland. Other partnerships remain also vibrant, particularly in education, tourism and diaspora.

The evaluation points out that there is a risk of scattering cooperation and thematic areas because there is no longer framework in place to steer the cooperation. Ultimately, this can result in a more limited development impact, and ineffective contribution to cross-cutting objectives and sustainable development goals (SDGs). These objectives have not been systematically addressed in private sector instruments.

Consultations and communication on the transition process has not been strong and inclusive of different relevant stakeholders both in Finland and Vietnam.

The evaluation found that multilateral cooperation of Finland with the UN, International Finance Institutions (IFIs) and the EU has increased in importance during the transition process, providing platforms for cooperation that remain in the future, beyond bilateral cooperation

The report highlighted broader lessons from the transition of Finnish-Vietnamese cooperation for similar processes in Finland’s other partner countries. These include a need to have a clear vision and strategy and to be specific about the nature and qual­ity of the new kind of partnership and cooperation.  Taking sufficient time as well as consulting and communicating timely and openly on the transition are also important. Furthermore, synergy and coherence among modalities, instru­ments and support-providing institutions is key to achieving more effective results and impact on the ground.

In terms of recommendations, the evaluation suggests that the transition process is formally closed. In addition, Finnish thematic and sector leadership and expertise in climate change should be further developed. Dialogue on human rights with Vietnam should be continued. The evaluation also suggested to carry out a review or analysis of how Finland’s bilateral political dialogue and cooperation with the Vietnam can continue to be complementary to and aligned with EU dialogue with Vietnam in the new EU-Viet Nam Free Trade Agreement (EV-FTA) era.  With other countries about to transition, Finland should consider building a new partnership arrangement right from the start of the transition process.

The evaluation report consists of two volumes:

  • Volume 1, 2021/5A, ”Main Report” presents the main findings, conclusions, lessons and recommendations.
  • Volume 2, 2021/5B, ”Annexes” consisting of all annexes.

Evaluation report

Evaluation on the Transition Process of Finnish-Vietnamese Cooperation in 2008-2020, Volume 1, Main Report (Opens New Window) (PDF, 142 pages, 3,43 MB)

Evaluation on the Transition Process of Finnish-Vietnamese Cooperation in 2008-2020, Volume 2, Annexes (Opens New Window) (PDF, 255 pages, 5,42 MB)


The Transition Process of Finnish-Vietnamese Cooperation 2008-2020: Selected highlights of the evaluation report (Opens New Window) (PDF, 4 pages, 418 KB)

Ministry's response to the evaluation

Management response (PDF, in Finnish, 2 pages, 116 KB)

Webinar recording and presentation of evaluation results

PowerPoint presentation of evaluation results - Webinar 16 June 2021 (Opens New Window) (PDF, 10 pages, 549 KB)

Please contact eva-11@formin.fi if you would like to have the webinar recording.