Hong Kong, Guangdong and Macao announce Regional Co-operation Plan on Building a Quality Living Area

Hong Kong’s Environment Bureau, Guangdong Province’s Housing and Urban-Rural Development Department and the Macao Secretariat for Transport and Public Works today (June 25) jointly announced the publication of the Regional Co-operation Plan on Building a Quality Living Area. The Plan covers long-term co-operation in five major areas, namely environment and ecology, low-carbon development, culture and social living, spatial planning and green transportation systems.

In order to implement the “Outline of the Plan for the Reform and Development of the Pearl River Delta (2008-2020)”, the governments of the three places set about compiling the Plan in October 2009 and in September last year carried out a three-month public consultation on initial proposals for the Plan.

“We received many comments and suggestions during the consultation period. Most respondents supported our vision to transform the region into a quality living area and the initiative taken by the three governments to jointly compile a regional plan. Respondents were also of the view that the Greater Pearl River Delta (PRD) region is presented with massive opportunities and potential for co-operation and they have urged the three governments to take joint action so that the region will become a sustainable quality living area. After careful consideration and in-depth analysis, the comments received have been suitably incorporated into the Plan,” the Under Secretary for the Environment, Dr Kitty Poon, said.

“This is the first regional plan jointly compiled by Hong Kong, Guangdong and Macao. The Plan puts forward the vision of transforming the Greater PRD region into a low-carbon, high-technology and low-pollution city cluster of quality living, with a view to enhancing its overall competitiveness and attractiveness,” she said.

In respect of jointly improving environmental and ecological quality, the Plan recommends strengthening regional co-operation on air emission reduction control. Based on the Pearl River Delta Regional Air Quality Management Plan (2002-2010), Hong Kong and Guangdong will complete and publicise the air pollutant emission reduction plan for Hong Kong and the PRD region up to 2020. Both sides will also enhance the regional air quality monitoring network, and explore opportunities in reducing emissions from vessels in Greater PRD waters, including looking into possibilities to promote the use of cleaner energy by vessels berthing at Greater PRD ports.

The Plan also recommends the three sides to jointly promote low-carbon development and take forward regional co-operation in combating climate change. It was suggested that consideration should be given to further encourage enterprises to practise cleaner production, building on the experience of the Cleaner Production Partnership Programme. Initiatives to facilitate development of environmental industries have also been put forward, such as by supporting participation at environmental exhibitions, and encouraging trade missions to help build quality brands for environmental industries in the region. There will also be more co-operation to support the development of new energy and renewable energy, as well as to promote the wider use of new energy and renewable energy products.

The three governments will make full use of institutional mechanisms already in place to take forward the various initiatives in the Plan, including the Hong Kong-Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference (CJC) and the Guangdong-Macao CJC. Specific co-operation proposals will also be taken up and discussed by relevant expert groups, and there will be co-ordinated implementation. Established mechanisms and procedures for programme approval and consultation will be observed. In implementing co-operation proposals, higher priority will be accorded to those that enjoy wider consensus. Well-founded initiatives or proposals that sustain past efforts will be taken forward as they become mature,” Dr Poon said.

The Plan and the Consultation Summary Report of the Initial Proposals for the Plan are now available at the Environmental Protection Department’s website(www.epd.gov.hk).


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