The Government announced today (November 9) the establishment of the Commission on Poverty (the Commission), comprising 18 non-official members and four ex-officio members appointed by the Chief Executive (CE) for a term of two years, from December 1, 2012 to November 30, 2014.
In his Election Manifesto the CE said, "As a generally affluent society, Hong Kong has all the necessary pre-requisites to provide and satisfy the basic needs of everyone in our community." He pledged to reinstate the Commission on Poverty in the Fourth Term of the HKSAR Government to undertake an overall review of the forms and manners by which poverty is manifested and their underlying causes.
In June 2012, a Preparatory Task Force on the Commission of Poverty (Task Force) was set up to recommend to the CE the terms of reference and composition of the Commission. The Chief Secretary for Administration (CS) and members of the Task Force paid visits to 11 service units, hosted six consultation sessions and attended two forums organised by the Hong Kong Council of Social Service to collate views.
Signifying the Administration's priority and commitment to poverty alleviation work, the CE will chair annual summits of the Commission to bring together relevant sectors in the community to set and reinforce strategic directions while the CS will chair the Commission. Four other principal officials will participate as ex-officio members.
The Commission will focus on analysis and review of policies and at the same time make full use of the Community Care Fund to provide immediate relief to those in need. In addition, the previously announced $500 million Social Enterprise Development Fund, now renamed the Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Fund, will finance needed initiatives to help tackle social problems.
The CS will chair the Commission, which will be underpinned by the following six Task Forces to conduct in-depth study and deliberate on specific areas:
(1) Social Security and Retirement Protection Task Force;
(2) Education, Employment and Training Task Force;
(3) Societal Engagement Task Force;
(4) Special Needs Groups Task Force;
(5) Community Care Fund Task Force; and
(6) Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Fund Task Force.
The CS will also chair the Social Security and Retirement Protection Task Force, while the Secretary for Labour and Welfare will serve as the vice-chairman. As for the other five Task Forces, the CE has appointed chairpersons who will also be non-official members of the Commission, and vice-chairpersons who have sound knowledge in the specific area.
"The structure of the Task Forces reflects the emphasis placed on policy measures not only to support the underprivileged but also to enhance social mobility through education and employment. Cross-sector collaboration involving government, NGOs, businesses and the community at large will be promoted through the Societal Engagement Task Force. We will give special attention to people with disabilities, ethnic minorities, single parents and others through the Special Needs Groups Task Force," a Government spokesman said.
The terms of reference of the Commission are to:
(1) examine the current poverty situation and causes of poverty in Hong Kong with a view to identifying favourable conditions for personal development, self-reliance and social mobility, and set a poverty line as a tool for gauging the poverty situation and assessing the effectiveness of poverty alleviation policies;
(2) review existing policies and formulate new policies to achieve the objectives of preventing and alleviating poverty and social exclusion, promoting social mobility as well as providing an appropriate safety net to better help the disadvantaged overcome material deprivation and improve livelihood;
(3) co-ordinate and monitor the implementation of poverty prevention and alleviation policies and evaluate measures funded by the Community Care Fund, the Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Fund and other relevant government funding sources as appropriate;
(4) engage stakeholders and advise on ways to promote tripartite partnership among the Government, the business sector and community organisations in poverty alleviation, including the development of social enterprises;
(5) promote district-based poverty alleviation measures to better meet the specific needs of local residents; and
(6) monitor the poverty situation in Hong Kong.
"The non-official members of the Commission come from diverse backgrounds, with vast experience and rich knowledge in their professions/sectors, community services and poverty alleviation. We are thankful that they have agreed to serve on the Commission to work with the Government in this important area of work," the spokesman added.
The first meeting of the Commission will be held in December 2012.
The membership of the Commission is as follows:
Chief Secretary for Administration
Ms Amy Chan Lim-chee
Ms Sylvia Chan May-kuen
Ms May Chan Suk-mei
Mr Clement Chen Cheng-jen (Chairperson of the Education, Employment and Training Task Force)
Mr Henry Cheng Kar-shun
Mr Cheung Kwok-che
Professor Stephen Cheung Yan-leung (Chairperson of the Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Fund Task Force)
Mr Chua Hoi-wai (Chairperson of the Special Needs Groups Task Force)
Dr Stephen Frederick Fisher
Mr Frederick Fung Kin-kee
Mr Ho Hei-wah
Ms Lam Shuk-yee
Dr Law Chi-kwong (Chairperson of the Community Care Fund Task Force)
Mr Leung Che-cheung
Ms Li Fung-ying
Mr Michael Tien Puk-sun
Dr David Wong Yau-kar (Chairperson of the Societal Engagement Task Force)
Dr Rosanna Wong Yick-ming
Secretary for Home Affairs
Secretary for Labour and Welfare
Secretary for Education
Secretary for Food and Health
Vice-chairpersons of the Task Forces other than the Social Security and Retirement Protection Task Force are as follows:
Mr Bunny Chan Chung-bun (Vice-chairperson of the Community Care Fund Task Force)
Mr Cheung Kin-fai (Vice-chairperson of the Special Needs Groups Task Force)
Dr Philemon Choi Yuen-wan (Vice-chairperson of the Education, Employment and Training Task Force)
Miss Leonie Ki Man-fung (Vice-chairperson of the Societal Engagement Task Force)
Mr Joseph Lee (Vice-chairperson of the Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Fund Task Force)
Ends/Friday, November 9, 2012
Issued at HKT 12:06