The dissemination of planning information, district-level land use plans, and provincial-level land price lists on the electronic portals of provincial and district governments saw significant improvement in 2023, compared to 2021 and 2022.

This conclusion is derived from research undertaken by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Vietnam, Real-Time Analytics (RTA), and the Center for Education Promotion and Empowerment of Women (CEPEW). The study forms part of an annual series of empirical investigations into the disclosure of land information by local governments in Vietnam, from 2021 to the present. The objective of these studies is to gauge the extent of local authorities’ compliance with Vietnam’s Land Law. This law explicitly outlines the responsibilities, processes, formats and timelines for the disclosure of information pertaining to provincial-level land price lists, district-level land planning, and district-level land use plans. It also mandates the provision of this information upon public request.

The evaluation of land information publication by provincial and district governments is conducted based on five key criteria: Transparency of Information Disclosure; Efficiency of Information Retrieval; Timeliness of Information Updates; Completeness of Information (specifically for district-level land use planning and district-level land use plans); and User-Friendliness of Information (ease of readability, comprehension and compatibility with common software).

Based on the research findings, as of October 6, 2023, 73% of provinces and centrally administered cities had publicly disseminated land price lists for the 2020-2024 period on their local portals. This represents an increase of 8.1% compared to the findings from the 2022 study, and a substantial increase of 31.1% when compared to the results from the 2021 research.

Regarding the publication of district-level land use planning information, as of October 6, 2023, out of a total of 705 district-level People's Committees nationwide, 65.4% had publicized district-level land use planning at the current district level for the period 2021-2030, an increase of 16.5% compared to 2022. Regarding completeness, among district-level People's Committees that have publicly disclosed information, 54.2% had fully posted three documents including the approval decision, comprehensive explanatory report and land use planning map.

Regarding publicizing annual district-level land use plans, as of October 6, 2023, out of 705 district-level People's Committees, 65.2% had publicly implemented district-level land use plans for 2023 on electronic portal, an increase of 17.3% compared to 2021 and an increase of 10% compared to 2022. Of these, only 22.8% issued land use plans on time and only 7% posted information on due time.

High non-response rate from district-level agencies to citizens’ inquiries persists. As of the conclusion of 2023, 23.7% of the agencies that received requests furnished the requested information, 1.1% declined, 5.3% responded in a manner that did not provide the requested information, and a significant 67.9% did not provide any feedback. This data indicates a high rate of non-responsiveness from state agencies to public requests for information on district-level land use plans. Notably, 11 out of 561 request letters were returned by the postal service due to the refusal of security personnel at 11 district-level People’s Committees to accept the letters, citing the absence of the recipient’s name. However, the researchers had addressed all letters to the District People’s Council-People’s Committee Office, in accordance with Point g, Clause 2, Article 9 of the Law on Access to Information.

Following the research, it was found that 18 provinces and cities, namely Bac Kan, Dien Bien, Son La, Bac Giang, Ninh Binh, Thanh Hoa, Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Thua Thien Hue, Quang Ngai, Binh Duong, Tra Vinh, Dong Thap, An Giang, Kien Giang, Bac Lieu, Ca Mau and Hai Phong city, have publicly disclosed their land price lists for the 2020-2024 period across three evaluation rounds. Concurrently, the People’s Committees of these provinces and cities have established dedicated land information sections on their portals to facilitate quick and convenient access to information.

Binh Thuan stands out as a province where all districts have published both their district-level land use planning for the 2021-2030 period and their district-level land use plans for 2023 on the electronic portal. Similarly, the provinces of Bac Ninh, Bac Giang, Dong Nai, Ha Nam and Kon Tum have achieved 100% online publicization of their district-level land use planning for the 2021-2030 period. Furthermore, the provinces of Dong Thap, Tra Vinh, Tay Ninh, Binh Phuoc, Ninh Thuan, and Phu Yen all have districts that have publicly disclosed their land use plans for 2023.

According to Ms. Ramla Khalidi, UNDP Resident Representative in Vietnam, transparent disclosure of land information is very important in minimizing the risk of land-related complaints and conflicts. This annual review will provide local government leaders with a tool to monitor their implementation of laws related to the disclosure of land information to the public. This is especially important in the context that the Land Law 2024 will take effect from January next year.

To promote the disclosure of land information by state agencies, the research team continues to recommend that state agencies at the provincial and district levels should fully implement land information disclosure on the Internet in addition to providing information directly at the agency. In particular, it is necessary to add procedures for providing information at the request of the people to the current set of administrative procedures and have specific written instructions; develop sanctions to handle violations in cases where People's Committees at all competent levels do not properly and fully implement their public responsibilities. In particular, there needs to be regulations on building interfaces, categories and methods of disclosing information on e-portals/pages of state agencies in a unified and synchronous manner nationwide as well as considering building synchronous e-information portals/pages of People's Committees at all levels.

In addition, it is necessary to continue to carry out propaganda, dissemination and training on the Law on Access to Information 2016, Decree 13/2018/ND-CP and Decree 42/2022/NDCP to officials of state agencies and people, especially regulations related to the process and procedures for publicizing information and providing information at the request of the people. Localities need to build an “Access to Information” section on their local portal and systematize public information in this section according to the provisions of Article 19 of the 2016 Law on Access to Information so that people can use it from anywhere, anytime.

Source: VCCI

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