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This page is updated on 2006-10-13 12:44
Christian Service News

Issue 53 (October 2006)


Opinion Feedback
Expectation on the
2006 CE Policy Address

It is the consensus of Hong Kong people to strive for a harmonious society. This is also a common goal of the government and the NGOs. In order for this vision to be realized, a Genuine Partnership between these two has to be established first.

As genuine partners, the NGO-Government relationship should not be one based solely on a contractual or funder-recipient relationship. Instead, NGOs and the government should be the two legs simultaneously walking towards this goal of harmonious society.

Hong Kong people are zealous to build a harmonious society with justice and equity. In fact, as mentioned by the Chief Executive in the Council for Sustainable Development's 2005 Report on the Engagement Process for a First Sustainable Development Strategy:

"One of the key principles of sustainable development is that we should all work together, as concerned stakeholders, to maintain and improve the social, economic and environmental conditions of our planet for coming generations. However, in a large and dynamic city like Hong Kong, there are many stakeholders with different backgrounds and points of view. The challenge for the Council, therefore, has been to develop a process of engagement that takes account of the diverse opinions and preferences of stakeholders and allows us to point a way forward that will make Hong Kong more sustainable ... we note that there is a growing level of awareness in the community of how important sustainable development is to maintaining and improving the quality of life in our city ... we appreciate the need to build on the lessons of this exercise to improve the engagement process and to enhance the capacity of the community to tackle the challenges of sustainable development in the many areas in which it affects our lives."

And thus, the Council has identified ways of enhancing the engagement process:

  • A process for selecting new areas for engagement should be established that would allows take holders to have a greater say in the choice of topics and the parameters of discussion.
  • Future engagement exercises should involve extensive outreach aimed at different levels. Appropriate resources should be put in place to enable all groups to participate in the process and contribute to strategy formulation.
  • The involvement of individuals who are representatives of stakeholder groups but who can also maintain independence (e.g., as Conveners or Support Group members) throughout the exercise should continue.
  • One of the key areas to build on is the continued engagement of Hong Kong's youth population. The Youth Forum provided a valuable means of reaching out to the young people of Hong Kong and highlighted the fact that one of the cornerstones of sustainable development is concern for the well being of future generations.

It is our hope that the Chief Executive will realize that these suggestions can also be applied to the arena of social welfare service, including the infrastructure for social welfare planning. For a start, then, a Genuine Partnership has to be built between NGOs and the government.

The same logic is found in other urban planning issues, such as the Planning Guideline No.39 by Town Planning Board, which stipulates that "In view of the rising community aspiration for a higher degree of transparency and participation in the planning system, and to provide a channel for the public to contribute to the determination of planning parameters for major development/ redevelopment projects, District Councils (DCs) should be consulted on all planning briefs."

Hence, the Chief Executive should, in his Policy Address, recognize the Genuine Partnership between NGOs and the government, and establish a formal mechanism so as to make social welfare planning more effective with greater public engagement.

Copyright Hong Kong Christian Service