WWF’s Response to HKSAR 2021-22 Budget

Posted 24 February 2021
Central Government Office
Central Government Office
© Shutterstock
WWF-Hong Kong welcomes the allocation of additional resources to help meet the government's carbon neutrality target before 2050, including by promoting the use of electric vehicles and ferries. We support the government’s plan to stop issuing new license for fuel-propelled private cars by 2035 and to raise the licensing fees for these types of vehicles. These measures align with WWF-Hong Kong’s call for a low-carbon city that will help transform Hong Kong into Asia’s most sustainable city.
The Financial Secretary’s 2021-2022 Budget speech today outlines government commitments to enhance Hong Kong's position as a green and sustainable finance regional hub and to achieve carbon neutrality in Hong Kong.
However, Karen Ho, Head of Corporate and Community Sustainability, WWF Hong Kong remarks: “Less than 1% of the electricity in Hong Kong currently comes from renewable energy. To meet the decarbonisation target and tackle the climate crisis, the government should plow more resources into meeting our recommended 10% renewable energy target by 2030 by expanding use of solar energy.”
“WWF supports the Government’s move to further develop sustainable finance and to promote ecotourism as part of its green economic recovery efforts. Ecotourism however should be extended beyond terrestrial sites to include the marine sector, which currently lacks support,” says Peter Cornthwaite, CEO, WWF-Hong Kong.
He adds, “There is strong support for the development of marine ecotourism such as by helping the diving industry to develop environmental-friendly protocols and codes of conduct, and conduct carrying capacity and environmental impact studies on highly-visited natural locales.”
Developing marine ecotourism is one way of safeguarding local biodiversity including our marine environment. As such, we are disappointed with the lack of initiatives to protect Hong Kong’s biodiversity, given Hong Kong’s existing commitments in the Hong Kong Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (BSAP). We call for greater collaboration with Greater Bay Area counterparts as part of Hong Kong’s contribution to China’s commitments under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
“Urgent action is needed to restore our threatened marine species and habitats,” says Dr Laurence McCook, Head of Oceans Conservation of WWF-Hong Kong. “Currently, only 2.5% of Hong Kong’s coastal waters are protected. This is much lower than the 30% IUCN target included in current drafts for the CBD COP15 that China is hosting in Kunming this year. The Government should invest in the establishment of a Marine Protected Areas (MPA) Authority, to manage a network of marine parks covering 30% of Hong Kong waters by 2030, with 10% protected by 2023, including the seven priority conservation sites identified by WWF-Hong Kong.”
The COVID 19 pandemic is a wake-up call and constant reminder that the future of people and nature are inextricably linked.

“The public health crisis underscores the urgent need to end unsustainable use of endangered animals and their parts, as exotic pets, for food consumption and for their perceived medicinal value,” says Dr David Olson, Director of Conservation, WWF-Hong Kong. “WWF-Hong Kong is calling for more resources to establish a joint law enforcement task force under the Security Bureau to tackle transnational wildlife crime. Joint enforcement is imperative to counter the seriousness of organised transnational criminal involvement in the trafficking of CITES-listed species, and to shed Hong Kong’s reputation as Asia’s hub for this illicit trade.”
We call on the Government to embrace a bolder vision to build a green and resilient economic recovery through nature-based solutions as a mechanism to achieve a greener and more resilient economy in the post-COVID era that benefits both people and nature.  
Please refer to details of our Budget recommendations here:
Central Government Office
Central Government Office
© Shutterstock Enlarge