Vietnam - Context and Land Governance | Land Portal
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With a large population and limited availability of land, Vietnam’s endowment of 0.3 hectare of agricultural land per person is among the lowest in the world. [1] Vietnam is historically a nation of small-scale rice farmers: the average farm size is 1,560 square meters, less than one-third that of Thailand or Cambodia. [2] Rapid economic growth in the past two decades has converted up to one million hectares of household farmland to commercial and residential use. [3] Land conversion has led to an increasing trend of land disputes [4] and is a factor contributing to widening rural-urban disparities. [5]

As of the end of 2013, 81% of Vietnam’s total land area of 33 million hectares was classified by the government as agricultural land, including cropland (35%), forest land (45%), and aquaculture (1%).[13] 3.8 million ha (about 35% of all cropland) is legally reserved for rice cultivation only,[14] although the area of rice land has decreased slightly since 2011.[15] The government’s priorities for land use from 2016-2020 emphasize infrastructure construction, industrialization, and urban expansion. Farmers whose land is threatened by drought, salinization, and climate change will be given permission to transfer land to other agricultural purposes.[16] Such environmental effects, which are also linked to dam construction and deforestation, are increasingly affecting coastal agricultural land, including over 970,000 ha in the Mekong Delta.[17]

Vietnam’s massive contamination by landmines and unexploded ordnance has been partially addressed through intensive efforts of the armed forces and international demining support. The central provinces around the former demilitarized zone (DMZ) and certain border areas remain the most affected.[27] Dioxin-based herbicides such as Agent Orange were sprayed over more than 2.2 million ha of land in South Vietnam during the Vietnam War, leading to health and localized environmental effects, but leaving no long-term soil contamination.[28]

The VGGT in Vietnam

Vietnam endorsed the VGGT as part of the 7th Berlin Agriculture Ministers´ Summit of the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture (GFFA) 2015. The GFFA Communiqué of the 7th Berlin Agriculture Ministers´ Summit 2015, states among other things: "We, the agriculture ministers assembled at the GFFA 2015, advocate: […]implementing and applying the "Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security" and the "Principles for Responsible Investment in Agriculture and Food Systems" at regional, national and local level, and we support the FAO in its efforts; [...]"

In addition, Vietnam has engaged in dialogue to improve governance of tenure within the framework of the VGGT as part of the Mekong Regional Land Governance Initiative, implemented a multi-stakeholder workshop to discuss the implementation of the VGGT and used the VGGT to identify challenges and opportunities of recognizing and protecting customary tenure systems in Viet Nam

 

Policy, legal and organizational frameworks

Vietnam’s Constitution holds that land and other natural resources are “public property, owned by all the people, and represented and uniformly managed by the State”.[6] In Vietnam’s single-party political system, overall direction for land policies is set by the Communist Party’s Political Bureau (Politburo). The Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (MONRE) is the primary government agency responsible for developing and implementing land policy. The National Assembly approves draft laws and monitors their implementation. Additional oversight roles are given to the ruling party, the Vietnam Fatherland Front,[7] and the Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Associations (VUSTA),[8] the latter a socio-professional umbrella organization that registers many Vietnamese NGOs.

Vietnam’s current Land Law was issued in 2013. [9] Following passage of the revised law, MONRE issued a series of sub-law decrees covering implementation guidance, compensation, resettlement, and land pricing. [10] Some key features of the 2013 Land Law include:

  • Decentralization of many important administrative functions, including land pricing and land use planning, to provincial and district levels. Provinces set land prices through appraisal boards headed by the provincial governor (chair of the People’s Committee) (Article 114).
  • Ethnic minorities are given priority in land allocation (Article 133).
  • Citizens and mass organizations are given limited monitoring roles in land use planning (Article 43), land use conversion (Article 69), and land management (Articles 198-199).

Research on transparency of land information concludes that there were many improvements in the government’s provision of information from 2010-14, but that overall transparency still falls short of legal requirements and full access to information.[11] Civil society interest in land policy issues has increased in recent years. Three land-related networks are currently active: the Land Alliance (Landa), Forest Peoples Land Rights Network (LandNet), and Forest Land Coalition (Forland).[12]

 

 

Transparency

Research on transparency of land information concludes that there were many improvements in the government’s provision of information from 2010-14, but that overall transparency still falls short of legal requirements and full access to information.[11]

The following transparency-related scores are listed for Vietnam in the Land Governance Assessment Framework carried out by the World Bank in 2013.

Transparency of Land Use:

  • In urban areas, land use plans and changes to these are based on public input: Very Weak Practice.
  • In rural areas, land use plans and changes to these are based on public input: Weak Practice.
  • Public capture of benefits arising from changes in permitted land use: Good Practice.
  • Speed of land use change: Good Practice.

 

Transparency of Valuation:

  • Clear process of property valuation: Good Practice.
  • Public availability of valuation rolls: Good Practice.

 

Transparency of Procedures:

  • Compensation for expropriation of ownership: Good Practice.
  • Compensation for expropriation of all rights: Good Practice.
  • Promptness of compensation: Weak Practice.
  • Independent and accessible avenues for appeal against expropriation: Weak Practice.
  • Appealing expropriation is time-bounded: Good Practice.

 

Transparency

  • Schedule of fees is available publicly: Good Practice.
  • Informal payments discouraged: Good Practice.

Read the full LGAF report on Vietnam.

 

Gender and land

Women face disparities in access to land, particularly through patrilineal inheritance customs.[26] Up to 2012, only 36% of agricultural LURCs were held jointly or in women‘s names for the Kinh majority, and an even smaller 21% for ethnic minority women.

Browse the FAO gender and land rights database for more information on gender and land in Vietnam.

 

Legal recognition and allocation of tenure rights and duties

The State allocates or leases land to individuals and organizations through issuance of Land Use Right Certificates (LURCs).[18] LURCs may be exchanged, transferred, mortgaged, leased, and inherited. Varying rights are granted for different types of land. Residential land is allocated for indefinite terms; agricultural LURCs (“red books”) and forest land for 50-year terms.[19] Farmers cannot convert agricultural land to other uses without state permission.[20] Forest users’ rights to use allocated land are the most restricted, especially on harvesting timber.

Vietnamese law does not recognize customary forms of tenure, and communities (villages) do not have legal status to engage in land transactions. This is inconsistent with customary practices of many ethnic groups, who perceive land (especially forests) as belonging to an entire village. However, the Law on Forest Protection and Development (2004) does allow for community management of forest land.[21] As of 2015, only 2% of forest land had been allocated to communities, compared with 26% to individuals; the remainder is held either by state enterprises, management boards, or local authorities.[22]



 

Valuation

Vietnam’s current Land Law was issued in 2013. [9] Following passage of the revised law, MONRE issued a series of sub-law decrees covering, among other issues, land pricing. [10] Some key features of the 2013 Land Law include:

  • Decentralization of many important administrative functions, including land pricing and land use planning, to provincial and district levels. Provinces set land prices through appraisal boards headed by the provincial governor (chair of the People’s Committee) (Article 114).
Investment

Rapid economic growth in the past two decades has converted up to one million hectares of household farmland to commercial and residential use. [3] Land conversion has led to an increasing trend of land disputes [4] and is a factor contributing to widening rural-urban disparities. [5]

Vietnam has 313 economic zones used for export industrial production, including industrial parks and Special Economic Zones (SEZs).[32] There are few cases of large agricultural concessions granted to foreign investors;[33] instead, state enterprises keep a leading role in the economy and manage over 2.8 million ha of agricultural and forest land.[34]

 

Expropriation and compensation

The 2013 Constitution and Land Law permit the state to recover allocated land through a process of compulsory land acquisition. Such expropriation must be based on a national defense or security purpose or “in the national or public interest”.[29] This is narrower than pre-2013 law, which allowed land acquisition for economic development purposes.[30] An estimated 10% of the population has been affected by expropriation, but there are initial signs that the revised law has reduced the incidence of new cases.[31]

Article 61 of the 2013 Land Law 45/2013/QH13 provides a clear definition of the circumstances in which land may be recovered for national defense or security purposes. Article 62, however, contains the provision "implementation of projects which or decided by the Prime Minister, including… For more browse the qualitative dataset developed by Tagliarino (2018) to assess how national laws in Vietnam measure up against the international standard on expropriation and resettlement as established by VGGT section 16.

 

Records of tenure righs

The State allocates or leases land to individuals and organizations through issuance of Land Use Right Certificates (LURCs).[18] Issuance of LURCs has proceeded quickly in some areas of the country, slowly in others. The initial land titling program of the government in the 1990s was one of the largest and most rapid such efforts in the world.[23] As of 2013, 38 million certificates had been issued, with at least 11 southern provinces close to full coverage and many others below 70% completion.[24] The World Bank and other international donors have supported land titling programs, the last of which ended in 2015.[25]

 

Regulated spatial planning

Following passage of the revised 2013 Land Law, MONRE issued a series of sub-law decrees covering, among other issues, decentralization of land use planning. Citizens and mass organizations are given limited monitoring roles in land use planning (Article 43), land use conversion (Article 69), and land management (Articles 198-199).

Following passage of the revised 2013 Land Law, MONRE issued a series of sub-law decrees covering, among other issues priority in land allocation for ethnic minorities (Article 133).

 

Resolution of disputes over tenure rights

MONRE and the National Assembly keep annual records of complaints and petitions sent by citizens. Land disputes comprise the vast majority of all complaints: 98% of those sent to MONRE in 2014.[35] Of one million complaints submitted from 2003-2012, the National Assembly reported that “only around half...were correctly, or partially correctly, handled”, mostly through being sent back to lower levels of government[36] (who have primary responsibility for responding, according to the Law on Complaints[37]). Local governments are generally able to resolve disputes between citizens, but not those between citizens and government agencies.[38]

Affected citizens typically press land dispute cases through official channels to higher levels first. If such petitions do not lead to satisfactory outcomes, they may turn to the media or public actions, such as demonstrations in front of government offices in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and other provincial centers. Security forces allow some protests to continue, but sometimes intervene with force if disputes become widespread or to conduct immediate land clearance.[39] Among the most prominent land conflicts in recent years were the Doan Van Vuon expropriation case in Tien Lang district, Haiphong[40] and construction of the Ecopark new urban area outside Hanoi.[41] Most land conflicts are caused by improper procedures of land acquisition, low levels of compensation, and/or perceived corruption.[42] Few disputes are adjudicated in the courts;[43] instead, the print and online media play a de facto accountability role in holding some government and business land users to account.

 

References

[1] USAID Country Profile: Property Rights and Resource Governance (2013), 5. http://www.usaidlandtenure.net/sites/default/files/country-profiles/full... Dang Hung Vo and Nguyen Van Thang, Cải thiện Quản trị Đất đai tại Việt Nam [Improving Land Governance in Vietnam], Land Governance Assessment Framework draft report (Hanoi: World Bank, 2013), 8.

[2] Centre for Agricultural Policy (CAP), Vietnam Farmers’ Union, Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), and Advancement of Community Empowerment and Partnership (ACEP), Land Consolidation for Poor People in Vietnam, Report Summary (Hanoi, 2013).

[3] Embassy of Denmark, World Bank, and Embassy of Sweden, Recognizing and Reducing Corruption Risks in Land Management in Vietnam (Hanoi: National Political Publishing House, 2011), ix.

[4] Wells-Dang, A., Pham Quang Tu, and Burke, A., “Conversion of Land Use in Vietnam through a Political Economy Lens”, Vietnam Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities 2:2 (April 2016).

[5] World Bank, Taking Stock: An Update on Vietnam’s Recent Economic Developments (Hanoi, 2014).

[6] Constitution of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (2013), Article 53.

[7] Law on the Vietnam Fatherland Front, #75/2015/QH13, Articles 25-27, 32.

[8] Prime Ministerial Decision #22/2002/QĐ-TTg, dated 30 January 2002.

[9] Law #45/2013/QH13 (Land Law), passed 29 November 2013.

[10] Government Decree 43/2014/NĐ-CP guiding implementation of the 2013 Land Law, Decree 44/2014/NĐ-CP on land pricing, and Decree 47/2014/NĐ-CP on compensation, support, and resettlement.

[11] World Bank and DEPOCEN, Land Transparency Study Synthesis Report (Hanoi: Hong Duc Publishers, 2014), 12-13.

[12] All three networks have an online presence; see https://landavn.wordpress.com/about/, http://land.net.vn/eng/, and https://forlandvn.wordpress.com/.

[13] Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Decision 1467/QD-BTNMT, issued 21 July 2014. http://laocai.gov.vn/sites/sotnmt/vanbanquyphamphapluat/Documents/Quy%E1....

[14] Giesecke, J.A., Tran N.H., Corong, E.L., and Jaffee, S., “Rice land designation policy in Vietnam and the implications of policy reform for food security and economic welfare”, Journal of Development Studies 49:9 (2013):1202-1218.

[15] Government of Vietnam, “Tờ trình Về việc điều chỉnh quy hoạch sử dụng đất đến năm 2020 và lập kế hoạch sử dụng đất kỳ cuối (2016-2020) cấp quốc gia” [Report on the adjustment of national land use planning, 2016-2020] # 46/TTr-CP, submitted to the National Assembly 27 February 2016, 5.

[16] Ibid., 10-11.

[17] Tuoi Tre News, “Vietnam’s Mekong Delta faces most serious drought, salinization in 90 years”, 18 February 2016, http://tuoitrenews.vn/society/33283/vietnams-mekong-delta-faces-most-ser....

[18] Constitution, Article 54(2).

[19] Land Law, Article 126.

[20] Land Law, Articles 57, 134.

[21] Law #29/2004/QH11, Articles 29-30.

[22] Wells-Dang, A., Pham Quang Tu, and Ngo Van Hong, “Reform of State-Owned Forest Enterprises and Ethnic Minority Land Tenure Security In Vietnam” (paper presented at the World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty, Washington DC, 14-18 March 2016).

[23] Iyer, L. and Do, Q.-T., “Land Titling and Rural Transition in Vietnam”, Economic Development and Cultural Change 56:3 (April 2008).

[24] Vietnam News Service, “Land-use certification to be sped up”, 5 March 2013, http://vietnamnews.vn/society/236458/land-use-certification-to-be-sped-u... “Deadline set for land-use certificates”, 12 August 2013, http://vietnamnews.vn/society/243358/deadline-set-for-land-use-certifica....

[25] The World Bank’s Land Administration Project (2008-15) supported issuance of 1.8 million LURCs, 1.6 million of them to women. See http://www-wds.worldbank.org/external/default/WDSContentServer/WDSP/EAP/....

[26] Tran, T.N., Hoang Cam, Le Thanh Sang, Nguyen Thi Phuong Cham, Ngo Thi Phuong Lan and Vu Thanh Long, The Exclusion of Women’s Access to Land in Contemporary Viet Nam (Hanoi: United Nations Development Program, 2012).

[27] Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor, “Vietnam: Mine Action”, 29 November 2015, http://www.the-monitor.org/en-gb/reports/2015/vietnam/mine-action.aspx.

[28] War Legacies Project, “The Invisible Enemy,” 2010. http://www.agentorangerecord.com/agent_orange_history/in_vietnam/.

[29] Constitution, Article 54(3); Land Law, Article 62.

[30] 2003 Land Law, #13-2003-QH11, Article 38(1).

[31] CECODES, Viet Nam Fatherland Front, and UNDP, The Viet Nam Provincial Governance and Public Administration Performance Index (PAPI) 2014: Measuring citizens’ experiences (Hanoi, 2015), 14-15.

[32] UNIDO, Economic Zones in the ASEAN (Hanoi, 2015), 88. https://www.unido.org/fileadmin/user_media_upgrade/Resources/Publication....

[33] For an analysis of one case of agribusiness expansion, see Oxfam, Strengthen Community Voices for Informed Choices: Land-use and Land-Use Change in Central Vietnam (Hanoi, 2012).

[34] Government of Vietnam, “Báo cáo số 70/BC-CP của Chính phủ về tình hình thực hiện chính sách, pháp luật về quản lý, sử dụng đất tại các nông lâm trường quốc doanh giai đoạn 2004-2014” [Government Report to the Politburo on implementation of laws and policies on management and land use of state farms and forest enterprises, 2004-14], 9 March 2015.

[35] Dang Linh, “70% đơn khiếu nại, tố cáo liên quan đến đất đai” [70% of complaints and denunciations relate to land], Government of Vietnam webpage, 31 March 2015. http://baodientu.chinhphu.vn/hoat-dong-bo-nganh/70-don-khieu-nai-to-cao-....

[36] Tuoi Tre News, “Land should be priced by independent rating entity: expert,” 24 September 2012.

[37] Law #02/2011/QH13.

[38] Asia Foundation, The Mechanism to Settle Administrative Complaints in Vietnam: Challenges and Solutions (Hanoi, 2009).

[39] Benjamin J. Tria Kerkvliet, “Protests over Land in Vietnam: Rightful Resistance and More,” Journal of Vietnamese Studies 9:3 (Summer 2014), 19-54.

[40] Kaitlin Hansen, “Land Law, Land Rights, and Land Reform in Vietnam: A Deeper Look into ‘Land Grabbing’ for Public and Private Development” (SIT Graduate Institute Independent Study Project report, 2013).

[41] Reuters, “Vietnam detains 20 in latest land clash - media,” 25 April 2012. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/04/25/vietnam-land-clash-idUSL3E8FP5....

[42] Embassy of Denmark et al, Recognizing and Reducing Corruption Risks in Land Management in Vietnam.

[43] Asia Foundation, The Mechanism to Settle Administrative Complaints, 18.

 

Total spending for agricultural reserch measured measured as a share of the value added from agriculture, forestry and fishing activities

Measurement unit: 
Percentage (%)

Distribution of agricultural holders by sex (female - Share %) according to the FAO Land and Gender Database.

Measurement unit: 
Percentage (%)

GDP per capita based on purchasing power parity (PPP). PPP GDP is gross domestic product converted to international dollars using purchasing power parity rates.

Measurement unit: 
PPP$ 2011

Land area is the total area (1'000 ha) of the country excluding area under inland water bodies.

Measurement unit: 
1'000 ha

Total funding (US $) for programmes still ongoing. Last updated on the 31st of January, 2019.

Measurement unit: 
US$ (Current)

Total number of programmes still ongoing. Last updated on the 31st of January, 2019.

Measurement unit: 
Number

Total population is based on the de facto definition of population, which counts all residents regardless of legal status or citizenship--except for refugees not permanently settled in the country

Measurement unit: 
Number

Rural population refers to the share (%) of people living in rural areas as defined by national statistical offices. It is calculated as the ratio between Urban Population and Total Population.

Measurement unit: 
Percentage (%)
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Total population is based on the de facto definition of population, which counts all residents regardless of legal status or citizenship--except for refugees not permanently settled in the country

Measurement unit: 
Number
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Total population is based on the de facto definition of population, which counts all residents regardless of legal status or citizenship--except for refugees not permanently settled in the country

Measurement unit: 
Number
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Arable land (1'000 Ha) is the land under temporary agricultural crops (multiple-cropped areas are counted only once), temporary meadows for mowing or pasture, land under market and kitchen gardens

Measurement unit: 
1'000 ha

It measures the area (1'000 Ha) covered by forest.

Measurement unit: 
1'000 ha

Land area is the total area (1'000 ha) of the country excluding area under inland water bodies.

Measurement unit: 
1'000 ha

Land cultivated with long-term crops which do not have to be replanted for several years (such as cocoa and coffee), land under trees and shrubs producing flowers (such as roses and jasmine), and n

Measurement unit: 
1'000 ha

Land used permanently (five years or more) to grow herbaceous forage crops through cultivation or naturally (wild prairie or grazing land).

Measurement unit: 
1'000 ha

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