Press Release



LCQ5: Sustainable Development Unit to be established soon


Following is a question by the Hon Bernard Chan and a reply by the Secretary for Planning and Lands, Mr Gordon Siu, in the Legislative Council today (January 10):


In the 1999 Policy Address, the Chief Executive proposed to set up a Council for Sustainable Development and intended to make a grant of $100 million to provide funding support for initiatives which aim at enhancing public awareness of sustainable development. In this regard, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) why the Council has not yet been set up and when it is estimated to be set up;

(b) of the detailed terms of reference of the Council; and

(c) of the estimated time when the public may submit applications for such funding support?


Madam President,

The Government has completed a consultancy study on sustainable development to examine how to promote and implement the principle of sustainable development in Hong Kong. Sustainable development for Hong Kong means: (i) finding ways to increase prosperity and improve the quality of life while reducing overall pollution and waste; (ii) meeting our own needs and aspirations without doing damage to the prospects of future generations; and (iii) reducing the environmental burden we put on our neighbours and helping to preserve common resources.

In adhering to the principle of sustainable development, the Government, the various sectors of the community and the general public need to work together and at most of the time may need to make fundamental changes to "mind set". In respect of institutional arrangement, the consultancy study recommended the setting up of a Sustainable Development Unit within the Government to encourage and assist the Government to incorporate the concept of sustainable development in the decision making process.

The Government has accepted this recommendation and intends to set up the Sustainable Development Unit shortly. Its main duties include putting in place a mechanism requiring all bureaux to undertake sustainability impact assessments on major new policy proposals; monitoring the sustainability impact assessments undertaken by the bureaux; providing analysis and support to the Council for Sustainable Development; as well as coordinating the training courses provided for the bureaux and departments. We plan to consult the Panels on Environmental Affairs, and Planning, Lands and Works of the Legislative Council in February this year on the establishment of the Sustainable Development Unit. We will seek necessary funding approval from the Finance Committee thereafter. After its establishment, the Sustainable Development Unit will also seek approval from the Finance Committee for the $100 million grant to support community initiatives on sustainable development.

Apart from the Government, the key to achieving sustainable development is to enhance public awareness and to encourage the community to put the concept of sustainable development into practice. This will be one of the key tasks of the Council for Sustainable Development. The Council will also provide expert advice to the Government and will report to the Chief Executive.

The Government had conducted two rounds of extensive public consultations respectively during the study period and after the consultants had made recommendations. Views expressed by the public on the study's recommendations, including those on the establishment of the Council for Sustainable Development, are diversed. Having regard to this, the Sustainable Development Unit will carefully study these views and consider the relationship between the Council and other relevant statutory and advisory bodies and will examine similar overseas experiences in setting up the Council for Sustainable Development. The aim is to ensure that the Government of the Special Administration Region, the Council for Sustainable Development and the general community will push ahead the concept and overall work relating to sustainable development in an effective manner.

End/Wednesday, January 10, 2001