Over 300 academics, professionals and government officials involved in heritage conservation and related fields are taking part in the International Conference on Heritage Conservation 2013 today (November 29) and tomorrow to exchange views with renowned speakers from around the world on the latest trends in heritage conservation. Discussion topics include the historic urban landscape, conservation of privately owned historic buildings and traditional and innovative tools of urban conservation.
Jointly organised by the Commissioner for Heritage's Office of the Development Bureau and the Architectural Conservation Programmes of the University of Hong Kong, the conference features the theme of "Latest Movements in Heritage Conservation: Global Vision and Local Outlook".
The Secretary for Development, Mr Paul Chan, and the Vice-Minister of Culture and Director of the State Administration of Cultural Heritage, Mr Li Xiaojie, officiated at the conference's opening ceremony and delivered welcome speeches this morning.
Mr Chan said that the Government is committed to making a strong case for heritage conservation and has redoubled efforts in the protection of our built heritage through a sustainable approach with due regard to, among others, development needs in the public interest and respect for private property rights.
"More than a hundred monuments now enjoy permanent statutory protection. About a thousand other historic buildings are under government monitoring and a gradually increasing number of them are being successfully preserved through the provision of economic incentives, such as maintenance grants," he said.
Mr Chan also stressed the importance of engaging the public in the process of heritage conservation. "As in all vibrant cities, conservation and development often pose hard choices. Hong Kong has embraced the practice of continuous public engagement as a tool to tackle differences. When we witness the successful outcome of proposals to conserve, for example, the Police Married Quarters on Hollywood Road or the adoption of the 'complete conservation' approach to Wing Lee Street, the time and effort are clearly worthwhile," he said.
Looking ahead, Mr Chan said the Government is conducting a review of the heritage conservation policy with a view to moving forward to the next level.
Keynote speakers of the two-day conference include the Permanent Secretary for Development (Works), Mr Wai Chi-sing; the Chairman of the Antiquities Advisory Board, Mr Andrew Lam; the Assistant Director-General for Culture, UNESCO, Mr Francesco Bandarin; Professor of the School of Architecture, Tsinghua University, Professor Lu Zhou; and UNESCO Chair for Urban Design and Conservation Studies, Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, Jerusalem, Professor Michael Turner.
For details of the International Conference on Heritage Conservation 2013, please visit the heritage conservation website (www.heritage.gov.hk) or call 2848 6230.
Ends/Friday, November 29, 2013
Issued at HKT 17:19