HK-Taipei inter-city forum concludes successfully (with photos)

About 200 officials, experts, academics and stakeholders from Hong Kong and Taiwan attended a Hong Kong-Taipei inter-city forum in Taipei today (June 7) to explore the challenges brought about by urban development and solutions to them.

Attended by the Financial Secretary, Mr John C Tsang; the Deputy Mayor of Taipei City, Dr Ting Ting-yu; and other senior officials, the forum focused on two major areas: the management of solid waste and the revitalisation of historic buildings.

Speaking at the forum's opening, Mr Tsang said that Hong Kong shares many similarities with Taipei City, including popular culture, written language, economic structure, the degree of urbanisation and the pursuit of quality living, thus enabling the two cities to gain insights from each other when formulating strategies to tackle social issues.

Mr Tsang noted that environmental protection and heritage conservation are among new priority areas for mutual co-operation, as agreed by the public policy co-operative platforms for Hong Kong and Taiwan, namely the Hong-Taiwan Economic and Cultural Co-operation and Promotion Council and the Taiwan-Hong Kong Economic and Cultural Co-operation Council.

To deal with the pressing issues of environmental protection and heritage conservation, Mr Tsang said that we have to face the problems with courage, commitment and a long-term vision. He called on each one of us to strike a balance between matters such as economic development and environmental protection, urban renewal and preservation of collective memory, and personal convenience and the interests of society as a whole.

On environmental protection, the Secretary for the Environment, Mr Wong Kam-sing, delivered a keynote speech on Hong Kong's environmental blueprints. Mr Wong pointed out that "Hong Kong: Blueprint for Sustainable Use of Resources 2013-2022" outlines a comprehensive strategy, targets, policies and action plans for waste management in Hong Kong for the coming 10 years. The aim is to reduce the per capita disposal rate of municipal solid waste by 40 per cent by 2022. To achieve the goal, the blueprint also proposes actions in three areas, namely community participation, policy and legislation, and waste-related infrastructure. Waste recycling, waste-to-energy and landfill disposal will by that time account for 50 per cent, 23 per cent and 22 per cent respectively.

Mr Wong said the experience shared in the forum on the sustainable use of resources in Taipei in the past 20 years could give inspiration to Hong Kong on how to speed up its environmental protection work effectively in future.

The Secretary for Development, Mr Paul Chan, noted that Hong Kong, with support from various professional bodies, collaborative partners and the public, has already achieved some positive results in heritage conservation. However, the work still faces many challenges, such as in the process of restoration of historic buildings and in the selection of operators for historic buildings.

Mr Chan said he believed that through this forum, Hong Kong and Taiwan experts could share their valuable experience with each other and enhance mutual exchange and co-operation with a view to deepening the achievements in heritage conservation and injecting new life and charm into historic buildings.

Speaking at the close of the forum, the Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Raymond Tam, said that the inter-city forum had turned a new page for exchange and co-operation between the two places. He added that, compared with Hong Kong, Taipei City is more advanced in the work of waste management and heritage conservation, from which Hong Kong could gain insights.

Mr Tam said that exchanges and co-operation between Hong Kong and Taiwan in the past were mainly on the economic and cultural fronts, and this was the first time both sides had explored livelihood issues. Looking to the future, he said he believes that exchanges between Hong Kong and Taipei City will be deeper and broader.

Also speaking at today's inter-city fourm were the Chairperson of the Research, Development and Evaluation Commission of the Taipei City Government, Ms Yuan Nai-chuan; the Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection of Taipei City, Mr Wu Sheng-chung; the Commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs of Taipei City, Dr Liu Wei-gong; Professor Jonathan Wong from the Department of Biology of Hong Kong Baptist University; and Professor Ma Hsiao-kan from the Department of Mechanical Engineering of Taiwan University.

Ends/Friday, June 7, 2013
Issued at HKT 13:25


The Financial Secretary, Mr John C Tsang (sixth left) and the Deputy Mayor of Taipei, Dr Ting Ting-Yu (seventh left), join a group photo at the forum. Other guests present are the Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Raymond Tam (fifth left); the Secretary for Development, Mr Paul Chan (third left); the Secretary for the Environment, Mr Wong Kam-sing (fourth left); and the Director of the Hong Kong Economic, Trade and Cultural Office (Taiwan), Mr John Leung (second left).