The WWF is run at a local level by the following offices...
- WWF Global
- Central African Republic
- Central America
- Democratic Republic of the Congo
- European Policy Office
After careful consideration of several unresolved issues that are critical to the Fung Lok Wai project’s success as an exemplary Public-Private Partnership (PPP) project in the Inner Deep Bay region, WWF-Hong Kong is today announcing its immediate withdrawal from the project in partnership with the project proponent, Mutual Luck Investment Limited.
The PPP Approach and the Wetland Trust Model
WWF-Hong Kong believes that the PPP approach can be a practical and viable solution for nature conservation on privately-owned lands under the right circumstances. By preserving a large area of land as a nature reserve and committing to the long-term conservation and management of the site, the Fung Lok Wai project can not only preserve but significantly enhance the ecological value of wetlands in Fung Lok Wai, thereby contributing to the entire Deep Bay ecosystem. WWF envisioned that the Fung Lok Wai project would serve as an exemplary model for other fish ponds held by developers and having Comprehensive Development/Wetland Conservation zoning.
In the early 2000s, WWF proposed that the future nature reserve at Fung Lok Wai should be run on the Wetland Trust model, in which the land ownership, funds and management are transferred to a Wetland Trust overseen by an independent board made up of credible members including wetland experts and government representatives. This Trust would also be grown to accept other wetlands and funds, which would ensure they are effectively managed under one comprehensive plan aiming to achieve ambitious conservation goals; rather than being planned and managed individually with overlapping objectives and repeated efforts.
The Wetland Trust model also allows for long-term conservation planning and better resource utilization. However, in 2011, a completely different funding framework was proposed by the Hong Kong government, in which the land ownership would remain with the developer and the ECF would absorb the funds and be in charge of finding and administering a management agent to manage individual sites.
Reasons for Withdrawal
The Environmental Impact Assessment of the Fung Lok Wai project has been approved and the planning application is scheduled to be considered by Town Planning Board in the near future. However, diverging views still exist among the public, the project proponent and WWF on the project’s fundamental principles in areas like the Public Private Partnership concept itself and the long-term funding and management model. WWF is not confident that the conservation objectives set for this project are achievable if it continues to proceed in its current form.
New concerns as mentioned above, belonging to both the public and WWF, arose as the project evolved over the years and have not been fully reflected or addressed. WWF firmly believes that stakeholder engagement is critical to the success of PPP projects like Fung Lok Wai.
As a responsible conservation organization, withdrawing from this project will hopefully allow adequate time and room for society to fully explore and reach consensus on how best to conserve the important wetlands of the Inner Deep Bay area.
WWF-Hong Kong, with its decades-long experience in wetland conservation and management, will continue to promote best practices and share its knowledge gained from operating the Mai Po Nature Reserve and wetland projects in mainland China, with the aim of strengthening wetlands management in the region. We will continue to run education programmes with the community and play the role of environmental watchdog to safeguard Hong Kong’s valuable and irreplaceable environment. Our position in and aspirations for wetland conservation will in no way be affected by our withdrawal from the Fung Lok Wai project.
For further details on the Fung Lok Wai project, our rationale and involvement and FAQs, please visit: wwf.org.hk/en/whatwedo/conservation/wetlands/fishponds/funglokwai