Spatial planning should be based on quality not speed

Update: August, 24/2015 - 09:30

Dao Ngoc Nghiem, President of the Viet Nam Urban Planning and Development Association, spoke to Ha Noi Moi (New Ha Noi) newspaper on what subjects should be covered in the Law on Planning.

What are existing problems Viet Nam is facing in planning activities?

For many years, spatial planning has been a tool to manage and administer the nation's socio-economic development. However, we have encountered many challenges. We have many urban planning projects, but those in charge have not consulted each other. As a result, they are not synchronised and even overlap.

Consequently, they cause difficulties for authorities to manage or implement.

I have to concede that quite a few planning projects are of low quality and weak feasibility on a national scale, particularly funding for project implementation. So it is high time for the National Assembly to enact a Law on Planning.

According to the Ministry of Planning and Investment, the current work of planning is subjected to the adjustment of 70 laws, ordinances and 72 decrees and instructions. In your opinion, what should be covered in the future planning law?

To define a good and rational adjustment framework, it is important to consider carefully the objectives of writing the law as written in Resolution 13 of the Party Central Committee on January 16, 2012.

More recently, the National Assembly adopted a number of Laws, including the Urban Planning Law, the Land Law, Construction Law and others. At a higher plane, the 2013 Constitution contains articles relating to planning, particularly regional planning, the roles of local governments, sectors and others.

In reality, the adjustment scope of the law, in my opinion, should focus on planning at national, regional and provincial levels. Of course,the law must also specify the planning system for each administrative level. Such a system should be in line with the renewal spirit with careful selection of what was already good and workable in the past.

In addition, during the law-compilation process, consultation workshops must be held to gather wide opinions from different stakeholders in society. Resolution 13 of the Party Central Committee requires an independent appraisal mechanism during the implementation of planning work.

The rights and obligations of the National Assembly and the Government, ministries, sectors and People's Committees at different levels have already been covered during the drafting of the planning document and implementation. In addition, a Planning Council will be created to act as consulting agency for the Government.

In my opinion, members of the National Council should include representatives of all social and professional associations. The same model should also be applied at regional and provincial levels based on existing provincial planning and architectural councils.

What should be emphasised in the Law on Planning?

The draft law has already covered many activities, including asking for opinions on the work of planning; what should be covered in planning projects at each administrative level, including the approval process, adjustments, rights and obligations, transparency and accountability and others.

The work of planning has a great significance in management of the sustainability and efficiency of the nation's socio-economic development. That's why we should focus more on the quality of the law rather than chasing the time-table for completing the law. — VNS