On 15th of March 2019, Center for Development and Integration (CDI) in collaboration with Ha Giang Union of Science and Technology Association (USTA) and Mining Coalition members held the seminar “Enforcement of Law on Access to Information (LAI) in Ha Giang province”. Within “CSO Space in Viet Nam” project, the seminar aimed to exchange views and consult local experts on LAI enforcement.
Attended the seminar included provincial governors such as Deputy Director of Department of Justice of Ha Giang, Fatherland Front Committee representative and delegates from local authorities including People’s Committee of Bac Me district, Vi Xuyen district and Mau Due commune.
Approved in April 2016, LAI was in force from July 2018. Concerning the implementation of LAI in Ha Giang, Nguyen Duy Sun – Deputy Director of Department of Justice said that the Department advised Ha Giang People’s Committee to make plan No. 227/KH-UBND and held a number of forums and training workshops for local government officials. Dissemination of LAI to lower level departments had been carried out properly since then. However, loopholes in the law (not clear in which department to be entitled to provide information) as well as lack of finance and human resources has not supported well in the delivery of LAI to people and concerned departments.
Report on the enforcement of LAI released by Mining Coalition showed a similar result: local agencies showed willingness to provide people information as request; infrustructure to support the information dissemination and archive has been completed. However, local people has rare request for information for local agencies or on Web portal; Concerned agencies have not yet info. focal point, either procedures or list of available info. for declearation.
As reported, information related to revenues and spending of environment protection fees in mining sector were not popular to the local as it was not included in budget proposal or in province budget reports but . Instead, those information was disclosed in annual meetings held by Ha Giang USTA and Fatherland Front Committees with the attendance of local authorities and entrepreneurs. That other means of communication (mass media, bulletins, Web portal…) were not utilized to disseminate the information should be put in consideration.
Reflections from local, especially representatives from Mau Due and Bac Me district showed that: main points of LAI were populized into regular meetings in a friendly and understandable way. However, local people are more concerned about the issues which were closely related to them. Those were emphasized in the workshop: they saw ribbed benefits in concious awareness of and request for clear information on environment protection fees.
Sharings at the seminar would be vital contributions to the final report “Practice of Law on Access to Information in Ha Giang.” In combination with research report conducted by Clean Water Coalition and FORLAND, the there will be a synthesized report on the practice of LAI, to be released on March 27th, 2019.