Viewpoints, objectives, and key orientations outlined in Vietnam’s National Master Plan for 2021 - 2030 with vision to 2050

Party Central Committee member, Minister of Planning and Investment
Monday, February 12, 2024 08:14

Communist Review - The National Master Plan focuses on determining an interconnected, coherent, and territorial space-based development model as a unified whole for the creation of a new development space and growth momentum for rapid and sustainable development. This is a major and challenging issue. To implement the Master Plan correctly and effectively, it is essential to have a thorough understanding of the viewpoints, objectives, and priority orientations for each stage, placed within a long-term vision.

Politburo member and Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh (first row, third from left) visits a photo exhibition on the Red River Delta titled “Development connectivity - Innovation - Green and sustainable” at a conference on the development of the Red River Delta _Photo: VNA

 Development viewpoints and organization of development space for 2021-2030, with a vision to 2050

The viewpoints in the National Master Plan includes two groups: viewpoints on national development and viewpoints on the organization of national development space. Regarding the viewpoints on national development, the Master Plan adheres to and elaborates on the 5 development viewpoints of the 10-year Socio-economic Development Strategy for the 2021-2030 period. In addition, the Plan specifies viewpoints on the organization of development space as the basis for directing the spatial distribution for socio-economic activities, environmental protection, and national defense and security, as follows:

First, the national development space must be rationally organized as a unified whole, ensuring intra-regional and inter-regional connectivity, fully tapping the comparative advantages of each region, and improving national competitiveness.

Second, development should focus on those areas with favorable conditions in terms of geographical location, socio-economic infrastructure, high-quality human resources, and other potentials and advantages to develop locomotive zones, economic corridors, and growth poles, creating spillover effects to promote rapid, effective, and sustainable economic development. There should be appropriate mechanisms, policies, and resources to ensure social welfare for disadvantaged populations.

Third, natural resources, especially land, water, forests, and minerals should be used effectively, efficiently, and economically while energy, food, and water resource security should be ensured. Emphasis should also be placed on developing a green and circular economy, protecting the environment, proactively responding to natural disasters, and adapting to climate change.

Fourth, the organization of the national development space and the development space of regions, economic corridors, and urban systems must take into account the development of synchronous and modern infrastructure and the harmonious development of urban and rural areas.

Fifth, the organization of the national development space must link the mainland with marine space. Underground space, marine areas, and airspace should be utilized effectively. It is crucial to connect domestic economic corridors with those at the regional and global economic levels. Economic, cultural, and social development should go hand in hand with ensuring national defense and security.

Under the National Master Plan, Vietnam is set to become a developed nation with high income, an equitable, democratic and civilized society, with a synchronous and modern infrastructure system by 2050. Regions will develop harmoniously and sustainably; potential and advantages are fully tapped; smart, modern, and green urban areas are developed; cultural identity and fine national values are preserved and promoted; a good quality environment is maintained; society harmonizes with nature; and development aligns with the circular economy, green economy, and low-carbon economy. Between 2031 to 2050, Vietnam strives for an annual GDP growth rate of 6.5-7.5%, with per capita GDP of 27,000-32,000 USD, urbanization of 70-75%, and very high Human Development Index. A happy life for the people alongside national defense and security are guaranteed.

Key tasks and orientations in the National Master Plan

Key Tasks:

First, basically establish a national infrastructure framework, focusing on transportation, urban, rural, energy, digital, cultural and social infrastructure,  water resource infrastructure, and infrastructure for environmental protection, national disaster prevention and control, and climate change adaptation.

Second, accelerate economic restructuring associated with growth model renovation. Priority will be given to industries and sectors with potential, advantages, and ample room for development, which will be linked to new development space.

Third, develop important locomotive zones and national growth poles  which will drive national development.

Fourth, establish and develop economic corridors along the North-South axis, East-West economic corridors, coastal economic belts, and industrial-urban-service belts in locomotive zones and large urban areas.

Key orientations for the development of and spatial distribution for economic sectors

Industry: It is necessary to concentrate on developing fundamental industries meeting the basic production material needs of the economy. Priority should be given to high-tech, digital, and new technology industries. It is necessary to develop green industries coupled with a circular economy model and resource-efficient practices. Industrial space should be closely linked with urban systems and service centers to form economic corridors and locomotive regions. Industrial development space should be expanded to the west of the eastern section of the North-South expressway as well as to midland areas to ease land pressure in the delta, thus minimizing the impact of climate change.

Service: Regional and global commercial and financial centers should be established in major cities which are linked with locomotive zones and economic corridors. It is crucial to form large-scale and modern logistics centers which are connected to major seaports, airports, and international border gates. Regionally and globally competitive tourism centers should be developed.

Agriculture: It is important to build concentrated agricultural production areas associated with the development of industrial processing centers. It is necessary to rationally increase the proportion of aquaculture and fruit cultivation and reduce the proportion of rice cultivation in the Mekong Delta. Highly effective and organic agriculture as well as agriculture serving urban areas need to be developed in the Red River Delta. Fruit cultivation, the forestry economy, and medicinal plant cultivation linked with the processing industry should be expanded in the Central Highlands, midland, and northern mountain regions. Coastal areas should concentrate on developing nearshore aquaculture combined with mangrove planting and protection. Effective and sustainable offshore fishing should be ensured.

Key orientations for the development of and spatial distribution for infrastructure sectors

Technical infrastructure: Resources should be pooled for the development of the infrastructure network to support the formation of economic corridors and expeditiously establish a synchronous, modern infrastructure system in locomotive zones. It is vital to build expressways linking major economic centers and connecting with locomotive zones and economic corridors. More international seaports and airports should be built or upgraded while construction of the North-South high-speed railway and rail routes connecting major seaports and airports needs to be accelerated. Energy infrastructure should be developed to ensure stable and sufficient energy supply, contributing to achieving the "net-zero" emission goal by 2050. Digital infrastructure and national data infrastructure should be further developed. It is necessary to develop infrastructure for environmental protection, irrigation, and national disaster prevention and control in combination with climate change response.

Social infrastructure: In major cities and locomotive zones, priority should be given to investment in high-quality higher education and vocational education which mirror the standards of advanced countries in the region and the world. It is important to methodically develop a network of preschools and secondary schools and improve their quality. Efforts should be made to build a national innovation system and an innovative startup  ecosystem and improve their performance. Focus should also be placed on building hospitals of regional and international standards, developing modern specialized medical centers, and building and modernizing cultural centers and national sports complexes meeting international standards. Attention should be paid to building social infrastructure in struggling areas, ensuring a balance between economic development and cultural and social development.

Orientations for territorial and regional space organization

Northern midland and mountainous region: Regional development should follow green, sustainable, and comprehensive practices. The focus should be on protecting and restoring forests; securing sustainable development of the forestry economy; using natural resources efficiently; and ensuring water source security. It is necessary to develop processing, manufacturing, and energy industries; high-tech and organic agriculture and local specialties; the border economy; and tourism. The Bac Giang-Thai Nguyen-Phu Tho economic belt should be developed into a locomotive belt which will drive regional growth.

Red River Delta: Focus should be put on developing modern industrial and service sectors. It is imperative to build innovation centers to lead scientific and technological advancement; develop high-tech and organic agriculture serving urban areas; continue developing the Hai Phong-Quang Ninh area into a marine economic center; and develop the Gulf of Tonkin Economic Belt (Ninh Binh-Quang Ninh).

North Central and Central Coastal region: The marine economy should be developed strongly in combination with ensuring national defense and security. Attention should be paid to improving the operation of seaports, coastal economic zones, and industrial zones; developing marine tourism and cultural-historical tourism; boosting aquaculture, fishing, and seafood processing; enhancing natural disaster resilience capabilities; and transforming the coastal areas of Thanh Hoa, Nghe An, and Ha Tinh provinces into an industrial hub not only for the region but for the whole country as well.

Central Highlands region: It is crucial to preserve special-use and watershed protective forests in association with water source security, and to improve the effectiveness of industrial crop development and the expansion of the cultivation of fruit trees, medicinal plants, vegetables, and flowers. Efforts should be made to boost agro-forestry product processing and renewable energy industries; to ensure sustainable development of  bauxite exploitation, alumina processing, and aluminum production industries; and to develop eco-tourism, resorts, and cultural tourism while preserving and promoting the cultural identity of local ethnic groups.

Southeast region: This region is set to become a dynamic development hub, the largest growth engine in the country, and a center for science and technology, innovation, high-tech industries, and logistics. It should also become a highly competitive international financial center within the region and take the lead in growth model renovation and digital transformation. Problems relating to environmental pollution, traffic congestion, and flooding should be dealt with.

Mekong Delta region: The Mekong Delta should be developed into a sustainable, dynamic, and effective agricultural economic center of Vietnam, the region, and the world. It is imperative to concentrate on  commodity agriculture production and high-tech agriculture coupled with processing and the building of product brands. Agricultural land should be utilized more flexibly while green and renewal energy development industries should be further developed. The region needs to proactively adapt to climate change and rising sea levels.

Orientations for the development of national locomotive zones and economic corridors

Based on the current key economic regions, some areas with the most favorable conditions will be selected to form national locomotive zones, including the Northern zone (Hanoi-Hai Phong-Quang Ninh); the Southern zone (Ho Chi Minh City-Binh Duong-Dong Nai and Ba Ria-Vung Tau); the Central zone (the coastal areas of Thua Thien Hue-Da Nang-Quang Nam-Quang Ngai); and the Mekong Delta zone, with corresponding growth poles being Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang, and Can Tho. Locomotive zones will step by step be developed in the Northern midland and mountainous region, the North Central region, and the Central Highlands region.

Prioritized economic corridors should be developed by 2030, namely the North-South economic corridor and the two East-West economic corridors which encompass Lao Cai-Hanoi-Hai Phong-Quang Ninh and Moc Bai-Ho Chi Minh City-Vung Tau.

Other economic corridors will be gradually developed, including economic corridors along the Ho Chi Minh highway and along the western section, which runs through the Central Highlands and the Southeastern region as part of the North-South expressway; and six East-West economic corridors, which encompass Dien Bien-Son La-Hoa Binh-Hanoi; Cau Treo-Vung Ang; Lao Bao-Dong Ha-Da Nang; Bo Y-Pleiku-Quy Nhon; Chau Doc-Can Tho-Soc Trang; and Ha Tien-Rach Gia-Ca Mau.

Orientations for marine space development: Marine areas will be developed on the basis of maximizing their comparative advantages in terms of natural conditions, geographical location, cultural identity, and ecosystem diversity. It is necessary to ensure that sectors on land and at sea operate in a harmonious, interconnected, and complementary manner.

Orientations for the use of airspace: National sovereignty over the airspace should be well managed and maintained. It is vital to ensure absolutely safe and effective utilization of the airspace and to achieve a balance between economic development and national defense and security. Attention should be paid to effectively use and optimize the organization of airspace and flight methods for existing airports and for airports to be built, upgraded, or expanded.

Orientations for national land use: Land resources should be allocated reasonably, economically, and efficiently. Land should be allocated in such a way as to develop a consistent infrastructure system, ensuring inter-sectoral and inter-regional connectivity. 3.5 million hectares under rice cultivation should be strictly managed while inefficiently-utilized rice cultivation land needs to be converted to more profitable crop and animal husbandry usage.  ​​Industrial park land should be expanded, concentrating on locomotive zones connected with economic corridors.

Key orientations for the development of national urban and rural systems

The national urban system should be built following a networked, green, smart, and sustainable model, which is adaptable to climate change. Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and other centrally-run cities are set to become  dynamic and innovative urban areas which play a leading role, creating ripple effects, connecting other urban areas, and becoming regionally and globally integrated and competitive. Attention should be paid to the development of medium and small-sized urban areas.

Importance should be attached to developing comprehensive, modern, green, clean, and beautiful rural areas associated with urbanization, with synchronous infrastructure and social services close to urban areas’ standards. It is crucial to preserve and promote national cultural identity, create sustainable livelihoods for the people, ensure stability for rural society, enhance education, maintain security and order, and develop models of population distribution suitable for each natural ecological region and its cultural, ethnic, and socio-economic conditions.

Orientations for the use of resources, environmental protection, natural disaster prevention and control, and climate change response

Use of resources: Water resources should be allocated in a balanced and rational manner among sectors and localities, ensuring overall socio-economic and environmental effectiveness across river basins. Efforts should be made to gradually reduce fishing activities in line with conservation practices, while preserving and developing aquatic resources. Other orientations include protecting, developing, and using forest resources sustainably; harmonizing economic development with environmental protection and climate change response; ensuring a balance between immediate use and maintaining long-term reserves of natural resources; and establishing mining clusters large enough to attract investment and modern technology, from exploration and exploitation to in-depth processing.

Environmental protection: Further pollution and environmental degradation should be halted while urgent environmental issues should be addressed. It is crucial to improve environmental quality step by step; preserve, protect, and expand the system of natural reserves, wetlands, important ecological landscape sites, and biodiversity corridors.

Natural disaster prevention and control coupled with climate change response: It is necessary to proactively adapt to climate change, gradually manage disaster risks, and create conditions for sustainable development. Disaster response planning should be strengthened and upgraded. Sectors should reduce greenhouse gas emissions in line with the goal of net zero emissions by 2050.

National defense and security

The all-people national defense posture should be strengthened in line with the strong people's security posture. Economic, cultural, and social development should go hand in hand with reinforcing national defense and security in each territorial region, strategic areas, border areas, the sea, islands, and key economic and industrial zones. It is necessary to develop the maritime economy and coastal areas; build suitable economic-defense zones to create the synergy to maintain political and social stability, protect national independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity; safeguard national interests; and contribute to securing a peaceful and stable environment for national development.

To meet the set goals and orientations, the National Master Plan puts forth  a system of comprehensive solutions ranging from resource mobilization, mechanisms, policies, science and technology, and human resources, to international cooperation and additional areas. The plan emphasizes the significance of developing the infrastructure network and boosting  investment promotion to establish and rapidly develop locomotive zones, growth poles, and priority economic corridors, which are set to drive  national development and set in motion the development of other regions.

This article was published in the Communist Review No. 1.009 (March 2023)