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Speech by the Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food


Following is the speech by the Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food at the press conference on Community Investment and Inclusion Fund today (August 21):

Friends from the media,

Welcome you all for attending today's press conference, which is about the Community Investment and Inclusion Fund. The Chief Executive has been very concerned about the social development of Hong Kong as a whole, as well as the well-being of individuals, especially the socially-marginalized. We also fully understand the hardship faced by the society amongst the hurdles of economic restructuring and high unemployment rate. Apart from the Government's efforts to promote economic growth and to provide enhanced services for addressing people's needs on different fronts, we also see the need to invigorate and revitalize the society with a view to enhancing community participation, encouraging mutual help and support, thereby strengthening community network to support individuals and enhance social solidarity.

In pursuing this cause, the Chief Executive has taken a material step of investing $300 million to establish the Community Investment and Inclusion Fund. As announced in his 2001 Policy Address, the objective of the Fund is to encourage mutual concern and aid among people and to promote community participation in district and cross-sectoral activities. The ultimate aim is to enhance the function of different community groups and foster their development. This initiative is part of his investments in the community to build up Hong Kong's social capital. The Fund would provide seed money for encouraging, catalyzing and supporting bottom-up efforts initiated by the community. These efforts would ultimately enhance social cohesion and strengthen community network for supporting individuals.

The Fund will seek to accomplish its goal through supporting projects initiated by community groups, non-governmental organisations and the private sector. Through such support, the Fund seeks to promote joint efforts between the community, the private sector and the Government. Our hope is that such efforts will result in the building up of social capital and encouraging the development of mutual help and community participation. And the ultimate goal is to build a more compassionate, cohesive and vital society. We believe that, by motivating members of the community to dedicate themselves to the community, as well as encouraging more cooperation and integration among different sectors and social strata, we could see a more caring and harmonious society.

We have set up the Community Investment and Inclusion Fund Committee in April 2002 to take forward the operation of the Fund. Under the capable leadership of its Chairperson Dr. Raymond Wu, with the support from our dedicated members, a lot of preparation has been done in the past five months. And today, I have the pleasure to announce to you that, the Fund is now formally launched for application by the public. Dr. Wu and our colleague, Mrs. Grace Ng, will later give you more details regarding application to the Fund. Application details are also contained in the newly-published CIIF Application Guide and Form, which you would receive a copy.

As emphasized by the Chief Executive, we do not believe that money alone can solve our problems. The community's motivation and dedication to help each other is essential. I urge the people of Hong Kong to take action now, to make use of the Fund to support your innovative ideas that could bring the community closer together and build a more compassionate and supportive society. I spare the rest of the time to Dr. Wu and Grace for furnishing you with more details regarding the Fund and application procedures. And I am happy to address your enquiries in the ensuing question and answer session. Thank you.

End/Wednesday, August 21, 2002


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