Tung: Public will be involved more in policy making
The government will involve the public more while formulating policies on long-term sustainable development for Hong Kong, Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa said yesterday.
Speaking at the United Nations Symposium on Development Programs in China and United Nations/Hong Kong Partnership, Tung said there was an important role for civic society to play in the process.
The process will be to canvass community views on how Hong Kong should develop its long-term policies in three pilot areas, - renewable energy, management of solid waste and urban living space, he explained.
"Again, non-government stakeholders will play a key role in designing and implementing public involvement programmes and in collecting and analyzing community views," he told the audience.
Tung pointed out it was the first symposium hosted in Hong Kong by the agencies of the United Nations stationed in China.
"I'm happy to say that with the support of China, Hong Kong enjoys good relations with members of the UN family. The World Bank and IFC, the IMF and the UNHCR have all set up offices here," Tung said.
"Since the resumption of sovereignty by China over Hong Kong, the Hong Kong SAR has continued to play an active role in the international arena," he said.
And under the "One Country, Two Systems" principle as enshrined in the Basic Law, Tung added, the SAR had developed relationships with foreign states, regions and international organizations in the economic, trade, financial and monetary sectors.
"It helps us to maintain Hong Kong as a vibrant and dynamic international city," he said.
He said people in Hong Kong were proud of the "significant progress" that the mainland had achieved in improving the people's well-being in science, education and sustainable development.
"As of 2002, China no longer had a single province or autonomous region in the 'low development' category," he said, quoting the UN report on China's progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goals.
He said the mainland's development has had a significant effect on Hong Kong's economy, but warned that the special administrative region should not rely on making "incremental policy" to drain resources.
"There is a need to form a long-term view of the priorities for Hong Kong's sustainable development," he said.
He said the Council for Sustainable Development set up in March last year had been working on a process to engage the community in identifying long-term priorities in a few key areas.
"The engagement process is designed to be different from conventional government consultation exercises, in that it aims to involve the community directly in building a consensus on how to ensure a good quality of life for this and future generations," Tung said.
The symposium offered an invaluable opportunity for all who care deeply about development on the mainland and in Hong Kong, he said.
"In the words of State Councillor Tang Jiaxuan, building a comprehensive partnership will help realize these goals," he added.