Despite an increase in the number of district-level land use plans and provincial-level land pricing frameworks available online on local government portals in 2022 compared to 2021 as well as local authorities’ better response to citizen requests for land information, provincial and district authorities should do more to meet the mandate of disclosing information online.
|UNDP Resident Representative in Vietnam Ramla Khalidi speaks at the thematic discussion__Photo: papi.org.vn|
Such research findings were shared at the Thematic Discussion titled “2022 Review of Local Governments’ Performance in Disclosure of District Land Use Plans and Provincial Land Pricing Frameworks” which was jointly organized by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Vietnam and the Center for Education Promotion and Empowerment of Women (CEPEW) on March 9.
In her opening speech, UNDP Resident Representative in Vietnam Ramla Khalidi said information asymmetry about local land plans and land pricing frameworks is one of the key triggers for land-related complaints. She went on to say that international good practices show that when land-related information is disclosed in an open and transparent manner, and citizens have the opportunity to discuss draft land plans and price frameworks, the risks of land corruption and the prevalence of land conflicts are better controlled. This helps increase citizens’ trust in local governments, she said.
Vietnam’s legislation on land and access to information has specified responsibilities for disclosing land information and providing such information at the request of citizens. However, the research findings showed that, every year, below 20 percent of respondents are aware of local land use plans, and below 40 percent would know local land pricing frameworks since 2011.
To promote the disclosure of land information by state agencies, the research emphasizes the need to develop, improve and synchronize legal provisions and policies related to land information disclosure between the Land on Access to Information and the Land Law. Related agencies at the provincial and district levels should also fully implement the disclosure of land information online in addition to face-to-face settings.
Deputy Director of CEPEW Nguyen Thanh Phuong suggested it is necessary to add the procedure for information provision upon request of citizens as provided in the 2016 Law on Access to Information to the existing set of administrative procedures of all sectors and fields; and consider stipulating the responsibilities of information-holding agencies in some specific cases. Other tasks are to supplement regulations on the time of approving district-level land use master plans to ensure timeliness and synchronization. At the same time, it is crucial to continue strengthening information, communication and education on the 2016 Law on Access to Information and guiding Decree 13 of 2018 to both cadres and civil servants of state agencies as well as citizens.- (VLLF)