Following is the speech (English only) of the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Donald Tsang, at the opening of the Exhibition on Sustainable Development by the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers (HKIE) this afternoon (May 7):
Mr Kwan, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am very pleased to be here today to speak at the opening ceremony of this exhibition. I welcome this initiative by the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers to showcase the work that professional engineers have done to help promote sustainable development. This will raise public interest in an issue that has often been seen as difficult to explain and even more difficult to put into practice.
One of the major problems that sustainable development is supposed to address is the way many of us live. We are using up the Earth's natural resources at a tremendous rate. We are burning up the world's stock of fossil fuels in our cars and our power stations. We are buying too many things that we do not need and failing to make the best use of what we do need.
The consequences of this over-active consumption are potentially hazardous; some of these are already familiar to us in Hong Kong. We have experienced poor water quality in many of our coastal areas. There is growing concern that Hong Kong waters are becoming increasingly bereft of marine life due to over-fishing. In addition, we face problems with our air quality, and we need to find quick solutions to deal with the mounting piles of waste that our city produces each day.
To deal with these problems, many Administrations around the world have established agencies tasked with environmental protection and remedial work. Hong Kong is of no exception.
The Council for Sustainable Development was set up in 2003 to look at how to promote the idea of sustainability in Hong Kong and to address issues of public concern in this area. In our first two years, my colleagues and I have worked to identify ways not only of instilling people in Hong Kong with the idea of sustainability, but also in involving people in making choices about the kind of future that they would like to enjoy.
With the help of the people of Hong Kong, whether as individuals, or as stakeholders in professional or other non-government groups, we are now building a formal strategy that will provide us with a blueprint for a more sustainable city. By engaging people directly in this process of strategy building, we hope to find solutions that will represent the choices that the community feels will enhance our quality of life and that of future generations.
Looking around this exhibition, just like looking around Hong Kong, I can see clearly the scale of the contribution that engineers have made to our city's growth and to the sustainable development of Hong Kong. Your work is certainly a strong visual reminder of the progress that we have made in becoming a world-class city in Asia.
As we continue to plan to enhance Hong Kong's position as Asia's World City, I look forward to working closely with the members of the HKIE in planning a sustainable course for the future development of Hong Kong.
Ends/Saturday, May 7, 2005