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Annual Action Research to Enhance Citizen’s Access to Land Information

To contribute to mitigating land conflicts in Viet Nam, we promote government’s transparency and citizens’ access to land information by conducting annual reviews of local governments’ disclosure of important land information and developing a web portal with interactive maps to visualize and track disclosure progress of all provinces and districts in Viet Nam. The online platform also facilitates participation by allowing citizens to access and evaluate the quality of information disclosure.

Innovation Summary

Innovation Overview

Transparency in land information is critical to good land governance in Viet Nam, especially at the local level. Current legislation on land and access to information in Viet Nam requires local governments to disclose important land information, including 10-year land use master plans, annual land use plans and land pricing frameworks. The new 2024 Land Law also stipulates citizens’ rights to land, including the right to land information and the right to participation in the development and monitoring of the implementation of land policies as well as the actual management and use of land. However, findings from the annual Viet Nam Provincial Public Administration and Governance Performance Index (PAPI) surveys from 2011 to 2022 show that access to local land plans remains limited, with about one-fifth of national respondents aware of local land plans and approximately 3.9 percent having had a chance to provide comments on local land plans. Other studies also suggest that lack of transparency in land planning and acquisition is among the key causes of land conflicts, especially in suburban areas, in Viet Nam.

In that context, since 2021, the Centre for Education Promotion and Empowerment of Women (CEPEW), with technical support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Viet Nam and Real-Time Analytics (RTA), has conducted the initiative “Annual Action Research to Enhance Citizens' Access to Land Information” to measure local governments’ adherence to Viet Nam's laws on land and access to information, promote good practices in land information disclosure, and empower citizens to exercise their right to information and participation in land governance. The initiative has 4 specific courses of action: (i) Review the online disclosure of provincial land pricing frameworks in 63 provinces and district-level land use master plans and annual plans in 705 districts in Viet Nam; (ii) Develop an interactive online platform visualising and detailing the review results; (iii) Experiment on sending requests for land information; (iv) Propose recommendations to enhance citizens' access to land information in the digital environment.

We trust that our annual review and our web portal provide local governments with an instrument to track their performance in implementing laws regarding land information disclosure and provide citizens with tools to search and evaluate important land information disclosed by local governments.

In the near future, we plan to scale up our review with additional types of land information, develop our online platform to be more informative and user-friendly, and focus on consultation and communication to increase citizen interaction with the site. We are also working on advocating the Department of Land Resources Planning and Development, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, to institutionalise the methods to systematically and effectively evaluate and monitor the implementation of land information disclosure in the country. Besides, we have been advocating the National Assembly of Viet Nam to use our research findings and land information portal as evidence for legislative activities related to monitoring and evaluation of the Land Law implementation.

Innovation Description

What Makes Your Project Innovative?

There have been several studies on land information transparency in Viet Nam, however, this is the first initiative that assesses both the disclosure of important land information of all local governments at provincial and district levels in Viet Nam and the provision of information upon request. Our landing page at is also the first-ever independent platform developed by a local NGO that provides visualization of data on land information disclosure by local governments throughout the years.

Our initiative is also innovative in the way that it not only allows citizens to systematically access land information from official sources, but also encourages citizen participation by allowing them to rate their satisfaction with local governments’ information disclosure and report cases of inaccessibility. In this way, it acts as a bridge between citizens and local authorities and facilitates a new way to bring citizens’ voices into policymaking and implementation.

What is the current status of your innovation?

Since 2021, we have been developing our online platform to present review results and visualize land information disclosure progress of local governments at provincial and district levels across the country. Beside browsing information and comparing disclosure status of provinces/districts across different time periods, one of the most important features of our platform is the ability for users to rate their level of satisfaction with local governments’ information disclosure and report cases of inaccessibility. We are currently doing more research and consultations with citizens and relevant stakeholders to refine this feature: (1) presenting more relevant information in the most accessible way, (2) having clearer calls to action and encouraging more user interactions. We are also working to develop communication mechanisms between different users of the platform to ensure citizens’ voices are communicated effectively to relevant parties to improve land information transparency in general.

Innovation Development

Collaborations & Partnerships

We apply technology to optimise site visitors’ experience and feedback collection. We collaborate with Real-Time Analytics (RTA), a research and technology development firm based in Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam with strong expertise in data collection, management, analytics and visualisation, to jointly develop our research framework and the land information webpage. We also engage citizens’ feedback to improve user experiences of the webpage.




Users, Stakeholders & Beneficiaries

Citizens, who are concerned about land information, or are affected by local land use planning, were approached through consultation during research design, integration into the PAPI survey, and other forms of communication (social media, news and TV). We aimed to raise awareness and empower them to practise their rights to information and land management participation. Government officials were approached through communications during the review and the review results sent to them. In this way, they would gradually get used to being evaluated, become aware of their obligations to disclose information, and pay more attention to the quality of the information disclosed.

Innovation Reflections

Results, Outcomes & Impacts

The publication of our three reviews has helped improve local governments’ performance in land information disclosure. The rates of disclosure of provincial land pricing frameworks, district-level land use master plans and annual plans have all increased over the three reviews, and our communications with local governments contributed to ensuring greater accountability and enhancing law implementation capacity of those agencies. As a result of our advocacy efforts on land information transparency since 2021, a new chapter on citizens’ rights and obligations towards land has been added in the 2024 Land Law, in which citizens' rights to access land information are clearly stipulated, with reference to existing regulations on access to information.

Challenges and Failures

As we visualise our annual review results at both the provincial and district levels, the changes of administrative boundaries present a challenge in ensuring the accuracy of our map data. Therefore, every year, when conducting the review, we also review our list of district-level administrative units and update our map data accordingly, as well as communicate the review results to local governments to ensure the validity of the results, which in turn shall be reflected in our map.

Another challenge is to increase organic traffic to our site, as citizens are not yet aware of their right to access information; not to mention actively practising this right. In the coming time, we shall focus on communication to raise public awareness and cooperate with local governments and NGOs to launch digital literacy courses for local communities.

Conditions for Success

First, it is important that the Vietnamese government has passed the Law on Access to Information and revised the Land Law, which provides us with a legal basis to implement our activities.

Second, the political leadership’s commitment to e-government development puts pressure on local governments to invest in their websites and upload documents for citizens to access. This is a critical window opportunity to promote land transparency and access to information.

Third, it is important to build trust with local governments as well as the National Assembly, the Ministry of Justice, and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment through ensuring transparency in research methodology, consistency and persistence in communication, and constructiveness of policy recommendations.


Our recent launch of the 3rd review attracted the attention of many local parties working on transparency and open government, such as the Budget Transparency Alliance for Progress with its Ministry Open Budget Index (MOBI) and Provincial Open Budget Index (POBI) which rate the budget transparency of central and provincial governments. Our approach to data visualisation of and citizen engagement in land information disclosure can be well replicated in MOBI, POBI and other similar initiatives as tools to track government’s accountability and enhance citizen participation in various areas. Our initiative, while being independent, is also hoped to be an exemplar, contributing to the development of the government's digital land information system.

Lessons Learned

With action-oriented research like this, repetition is unavoidable when the same review is taken every year and it takes a lot of time and perseverance to see the results taking shape. In the first and second reviews, changes seemed to be slow and local governments’ reception of the research and its result was limited. However, after three reviews and consistent efforts in communicating with competent agencies, we have seen real progress in land information disclosure and provision at citizens’ requests. Our interactive map has also been well received, which shows that data visualisation is a helpful way to increase the usability and persuasiveness of research findings, especially in the digital age.

Anything Else?

We look forward to having the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment institutionalise the land transparency monitoring methodology and the visual tracking of land information publication. We also hope to work with them on developing land data standards and the national land database during the 2025-2030 period.

Supporting Videos

Year: 2021
Level of Government: Local government


  • Implementation - making the innovation happen

Innovation provided by:

Date Published:

2 April 2024

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