WWF-Hong Kong Recommendations for the 2020-21 Budget | WWF Hong Kong

WWF-Hong Kong Recommendations for the 2020-21 Budget

18 February 2020

For a sustainable economy, we look forward to continue working closely with the Hong Kong SAR Government on achieving its commitments to the United Nations sustainable development goals.  Our shared vision is to transform Hong Kong into Asia's most sustainable city, where nature is conserved, carbon pollution is reduced, and consumption is environmentally responsible.   
We have previously addressed the Chief Executive on our policy recommendations covering marine spatial planning, wildlife crime, decarbonisation and sustainable consumption.  The Government has the leadership role in delivering policies for a sustainable and liveable city for everyone.  WWF welcomes the decarbonisation and waste management measures in your 2019-20 Budget announcements, especially with the $1 billion capital spending on renewable energy installations at government facilities.  This year, we hope to see the Government embrace a bolder vision to deliver more on sustainable city issues and to build a circular economy which benefits both people and nature.  
We, therefore, urge you to consider the following measures in the 2020-21 Budget: 
  • Invest at least $5 billion over 3 years in the establishment of Marine Protected Areas Authority consisting of members from the industry, academia, conservationists and community representatives to implement and manage a network of marine parks covering 30% of HK waters by 2030 with 20% protected by 2025 including the 7 conservation priority sites identified by WWF.  The marine parks can be delivered with minimal impact on marine vessel traffic, provide for the establishment of small number of ‘no-take fishing zones’, and restore the health of our coastal waters and the Pearl River delta to be productive local fisheries, with innovation in the local aquaculture industry.  A focused 10-year effort is urgently needed in restoring key fish species and important habitats, ensuring the survival of the iconic Chinese white dolphin and finless porpoise in Hong Kong and the Greater Bay Area as a whole for the benefit of both people and nature. 
  • Invest further in decarbonising Hong Kong to contribute to limiting global warming to 1.5°C.  We support stronger building envelope standards, delinking BEAM plus scores for building electrical services and the building envelope.  There needs to be greater ambition to adopt performance standards that first rewards ultra-low carbon design, with new buildings to undergo mandatory BEAM plus final assessments with effective GFA concession, whereby attractive concessions of 10 per cent are only for ultra-low carbon buildings and at the lower end no more than 2 per cent for minimum performance standards.  A new scheme to properly incentivise the Building Energy Code under regulations Cap.123 for overall thermal transfer values OTTV in building envelopes should be introduced. A decarbonisation financing scheme for public spaces is recommended, together with a seed fund to support the implementation of solar projects in the community.  
  • For a plastic smart city, Government funding is needed to carry out feasibility studies of the Extended Producer Responsibility system for plastic packaging and tableware in supermarket and F&B industry.  We also suggest Government resources be provided to launch a pilot scheme on collection and recycling services of plastic recyclable materials in Sai Kung and Central piers. 
  • Provide the resources needed to establish a joint law enforcement task force under Security Bureau to tackle transnational wildlife crime.  The joint enforcement task force is necessary to counter the seriousness of involvement of organised transnational criminals in trafficking of CITES listed species and the need to protect Hong Kong’s reputation against being regarded Asia’s hub for this illicit trade.  Anti-money laundering investigations are necessary to deter criminal activity and ensure Hong Kong meets international obligations to end the illegal wildlife trade.  
  • Allocate at least $1 billion additional funding under the Countryside Conservation Fund Scheme, CCFS, to support rural projects that effectively protect and restore the natural ecology of private and public land in areas of special scientific interest, particularly wetlands and coastal sites including Lut Chau and the areas within or bordering the Ramsar site at Inner Deep Bay, Ha Pak Nai, Hoi Ha Wan Village and South West Lantau.  We support community-based projects that can improve ecological value, provide economic activity, whether aquaculture or eco-tourism opportunities, connecting our community and visitors with nature. 
With your informed and decisive policy leadership I am confident our city can provide a new deal for people and nature, preserve our treasured natural resources, whilst addressing our city’s need for economic and infrastructure development.