The Hong Kong, Guangdong and Macao governments today (September 1) jointly launched a three-month public consultation on initial proposals for the Regional Cooperation Plan on Building a Quality Living Area (The Plan).
"The overall objective of the Regional Cooperation Plan on Building a Quality Living Area is to transform the Greater Pearl River Delta (PRD) region into an exemplar cluster of green cities for quality living through the compilation of a long-term co-operation blueprint for the three sides," the Under Secretary for the Environment, Dr Kitty Poon, said.
"This is the first regional plan jointly compiled by the three sides. The consultation document puts forward the objectives and vision to transform the Greater PRD region into a low-carbon, high-technology and low-pollution city cluster of quality living. It also suggests initial co-operation directions and proposals in the five areas of environment and ecology, low-carbon development, culture and social living, spatial planning and transportation systems. We would like to receive views and comments from the public on the various proposals and foster community consensus through this consultation with a view to supporting the future implementation of the Plan," she explained.
Public views collected during the consultation period will be taken into account at the next phase of study with a view to finalising the compilation of the Plan.
Key initial co-operation directions proposed in the consultation document include:
(i) Enhancing environmental quality and ecology: Included is strengthening and improving the ecosystems in the Greater PRD region, planning and co-ordinating regional ecological protection for Robin's Nest in Hong Kong and Shenzhen Wutong Shan National Forest Park, devising a joint management plan for the protection and conservation of the Chinese white dolphin habitat at Lingding Bay, and strengthening exchange on wetland management and scientific research. Also covered is enhancing water quality management and pollution control, and strengthening co-operation in improving the quality of adjoining waters. Being studied, too, is strengthening the regional co-operation on air pollutant emissions reduction and control with Guangdong and Hong Kong to complete the joint study on the arrangements for reducing air pollutant emissions in Hong Kong and the PRD region for 2011-20 based on the Pearl River Delta Regional Air Quality Management Plan (2002-10); enhancing the regional air quality monitoring network and information sharing mechanisms; and conducting a study on controlling air pollution from vessels in the Greater PRD waters, such as exploring the feasibility of using cleaner energy by vessels berthing at the Greater PRD ports, etc.
(ii) Promoting low-carbon development and accelerating the pace of economic transformation in the Greater PRD region: promoting cleaner production, and progressively setting up and improving a cleaner production service platform for the three places; promoting the development of environmental industries; fostering cross-boundary co-operation in the recycling of reusable materials subject to compliance with national legislation and environmental standards; supporting development of new energy and renewable energy, and promoting the wider use of new energy and renewable energy products; and taking forward co-operation in clean energy supply and development of related infrastructure, including studying the overall demand and development potential of clean energy in the region.
(iii) Taking forward closer co-operation in cross-boundary cultural exchanges, education, social welfare and food safety issues: Establishing a pluralistic regional cultural system, strengthening the transport support services for cross-border students, facilitating the social service providers of Hong Kong and Macao to operate elderly homes and welfare institutions for persons with disabilities in the PRD, and enhancing the exchange and emergency response mechanism on food safety.
(iv) Promoting co-ordinated cross-boundary spatial development and improving the spatial structure in the PRD: Continuing the planning and development of the priority cross-boundary co-operation areas, such as the Lok Ma Chau Loop Area, Qianhai in Shenzhen, Nansha New District in Guangzhou, etc; and conducting a joint study on co-ordinated spatial development in corridors along cross-boundary express railways.
(v) Facilitating development of green transportation and convenient boundary crossing: Enhancing transportation systems of the region, promoting railway as the backbone of transportation systems; facilitating the use of non-motorised transport and promoting energy efficiency and emissions reduction in transportation systems; and exploring the feasibility of extending the operating hours of boundary control points progressively.
The proposal for "building a quality living area" was set out in the "Outline of the Plan for the Reform and Development of the PRD Region (2008-20)". In October 2009, Hong Kong, Guangdong and Macao jointly commenced the study for the compilation of the Plan, focusing on the long-term regional co-operation directions of the Greater PRD region.
"The notion of quality living underscores the sustainable development concept of striking a balance between economic and social development and the environment. It puts quality living for citizens at the heart of regional development. This is the starting point in drawing up the Plan. All the cities in the Greater PRD region are closely connected and inter-related. Tackling the common problems encountered in regional development calls for regional co-operation beyond administrative boundaries. Recognising that Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao are governed under different administrative and legal systems, the three governments will respect each other's differences in taking forward the co-operation proposals to be recommended under the Plan, and co-ordinate their implementation by taking into account the prevailing circumstances," Dr Poon said.
The consultation document and its summary are available at the offices of the Environmental Protection Department (EPD), the Environmental Resource Centres, and the Public Enquiry Service Centres of the Home Affairs Department. They can also be downloaded from the dedicated website at www.gprd-qla.com. The public consultation exercise will run for three months until November 30, 2011. A public forum will also be held on September 29, 2011, and the registration form can be downloaded from the dedicated website. Views and comments may be sent to the EPD by post (address: 33/F, Revenue Tower, 5 Gloucester Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong), by fax (2838 2155) or via email (email@example.com).
Ends/Thursday, September 1, 2011
Issued at HKT 14:06