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Transcript of opening remarks by SEN
     Following is the transcript of the opening remarks by the Secretary for the Environment, Mr Wong Kam-sing, on the Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (BSAP) for Hong Kong and the control of the local ivory trade at a media session at the Central Government Offices today (December 21):

     Let me briefly recap what I have said in English. Firstly, about the Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan. The BSAP has been committed by the Chief Executive in his Policy Address in 2015 and 2016.

     The Government today launches Hong Kong's first city-level Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan. This is the first comprehensive document setting out the strategy and action plan for conserving biodiversity and supporting sustainable development in Hong Kong in the next five years.

     The BSAP comprises four major areas of actions: 1) enhancing conservation measures; 2) mainstreaming biodiversity; 3) improving our knowledge; and 4) promoting community involvement.

     To co-ordinate the implementation of the BSAP among various departments, we have set up an inter-departmental Working Group and the Secretary for the Environment is the Chairman.

     The Government has earmarked $150 million for taking forward the relevant initiatives in the first three years. The Environment and Conservation Fund has also reserved funding allocations for funding research as well as education and community projects related to biodiversity.

     We will work with various sectors of the community and the general public to undertake the actions in the BSAP and work towards a sustainable future for Hong Kong.

     Let me now talk about phasing out of local ivory trade. The Chief Executive committed in his 2016 Policy Address to actively explore appropriate measures to contribute to the global efforts in protecting wild elephants.

     We proposed a three-step plan to phase out all local ivory trade by the end of 2021. There will be legislative amendments targeting different categories of ivory which will be effective at three different dates.

     The measures will send a very strong signal to the international community on Hong Kong's determination to curb illicit trade in ivory.

(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)
Ends/Wednesday, December 21, 2016
Issued at HKT 14:46
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