Nov 14, 2012

Vietnam - Land reforms to balance interests

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The Hanoitimes - The World Bank in Vietnam released o­n Monday its policy note "Revising the Land Law to Enable Sustainable Development in Vietnam" during Vietnam's National Assembly's deliberations o­n changes to its Land Law, focusing o­n reforms to address prevailing gaps and shortcomings.

Several development partners including the United Nations are working together to prepare a joint policy note that reaffirms the same broad message.

"It is critical that revisions to the Land Law create a more favorable environment for more effective, equitable and environmentally sustainable management of scarce land resources," says Victoria Kwakwa, country director of the World Bank in Vietnam.

"The revisions of the Land Law provide a key opportunity to ensure a fair balance between the interests of developers and farmers, and to promote greater transparency and accountability in Vietnam's land governance," said Pratibha Mehta, UN Resident Coordinator in Vietnam.

The note is expected to provide ideas o­n important institutional reforms to improve Vietnam's land management system, reduce the instability associated with land disputes and better control corruption. It outlines reforms related to four main themes: agricultural land use, transparent and equitable land acquisition and compensation, land-use rights of vulnerable groups, and land planning management.

Creating transparent and equitable land acquisition and compensation are key priorities for the revision of the Land Law.

The World Bank argues that an efficient and transparent mechanism for setting the land compensation price when land is acquired involuntarily is a top priority, and there are good examples in Vietnam and these need to be adopted more systematically.

According to the note, the state needs to use its authority sparingly, limiting the use of compulsory land acquisition o­nly to cases for the public's benefit, giving land users more confidence in their rights related to land.

It states that disputes are inevitable and that improving grievance redress mechanisms would reduce complaints, speed up project implementation and facilitate social stability.

Changes related to agricultural land use would enhance effectiveness of land use as well as secure farmers' rights in land use.

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