Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying (梁振英) will step down in July as he has decided not to seek re-election after only one term. Last month, he delivered his final policy address which will serve as a blueprint for Hong Kong’s mid-term and long-term development.
Leung Chun-ying’s 2017 Policy Address outlined closer Hong Kong-mainland cooperation and proposed remedies for some pressing social issues, particularly for the lack of housing and the ageing population.
POLICY speeches delivered by the head of the Hong Kong administration are comparable to New Year resolutions. The address before legislators sets out guidelines aimed at improving the city’s economic and social health. Unlike New Year resolutions, which last a year, the proposals in the policy address can span years and even decades.
That is partly because different stakeholders are involved and their input is necessary to achieve long-term goals. The policy address does not state concrete ideas but the directions the government proposes to take to improve the economy, society and the environment. Junior Standard has picked some key points from Leung’s final blueprint to give you a grasp of how our city will be developed in coming years.
Belt and Road’ students
THE economic importance of the Silk Road has been stressed in recent years and it is important to familiarise ourselves with this prominent trading route. The SAR government plans to send students on exchange and cultural programmes as part of its contribution to Beijing’s initiative. This year, 5,600 students will be sponsored for visits to Southeast Asian (東南亞的) and Middle Eastern (中東的) countries along the ‘Belt and Road’ (「一帶一路」).
Combating climate change
THE SAR government is aware of the carbon emission problem in Hong Kong. To play a part in curbing global warming in the next decade, the government aims to reduce carbon intensity by 65 percent of the 2005 level. Carbon dioxide (二氧化碳) is one of the major greenhouse gases, while carbon monoxide (一氧化碳) also contributes greatly to climate change. Reducing the amount and intensity of carbon emissions cannot be achieved by just relying on the commercial and industrial sectors. Individuals have to play a part in saving the environment too.
Solving the housing crisis
ACCORDING to the latest Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey, Hong Kong homes were again ranked as the least affordable in the world, with most locals fi nding it hard to buy a flat. Resolving the housing crisis is the government’s priority. From now until 2021, about 94,500 public housing flats are expected to be built.
Promoting a bike-friendly city
CYCLING is energy-saving and pollution-free. In addition to linking up the existing cycle tracks in the New Territories to create an 82-kilometre trail, community bicycle rental services can encourage people to adopt this mode of commuting. The government plans to help more organisations run rental services on a non-profit basis.
Seeking sporting excellence
IN the next five years, Hong Kong will invest HK$20 billion on 26 projects to develop new sports and recreational facilities or improve existing ones. These include sports grounds, swimming pool complexes and outdoor basketball courts. The largest sports project – Kai Tak Sports Park (啟德體育園) – is due for completion in 2022.
On Friday, 3 March, Junior Standard will discuss five more points in the policy address, ranging from ageing and retirement policies to economic and cultural development. Stay tuned!