WB calls for land policy reforms in Vietnam

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A World Bank policy note released Monday called on Vietnam to focus on reforms to address prevailing gaps and shortcomings in the land law.

The policy note entitled "Revising the Land Law to Enable Sustainable Development in Vietnam", was issued as Vietnam's National Assembly convened to deliberate amendments to the Land Law.

Several development partners, including the UN, 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," said Victoria Kwakwa, Country Director of the World Bank in Vietnam.

The note is expected to provide ideas on important institutional reforms to improve Vietnam's land management system, to reduce the instability associated with land disputes and to better control corruption.

The note outlines reforms related to four main themes: agriculture land use, transparent and equitable land acquisition and compensation, land use rights of vulnerable groups, and land planning management.

According to the WB, an efficient and transparent mechanism for setting the land compensation price when land is acquired involuntarily is a top priority.

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

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

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Revisions to the Land Law offer the opportunity to reaffirm and strengthen the land use rights of vulnerable groups, such as women, the poor and ethnic minority communities, according to the WB.

The note concludes that developing a more flexible and effective land management system, and improving transparency and reducing corruption in land management are all needed to make Vietnam's land governance system worthy of a middle income country.

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