Statement on cross-boundary environmental issues (6/10/1999)

1 January 1997

Following is a joint statement issued by the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government, Mr Tung Chee Hwa, and the Governor of the Guangdong Provincial Government, Mr Lu Ruihua today (Wednesday):

The Guangdong Provincial Government and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government share a common vision to bring clean and healthy environment to the Pearl River Delta Region. Joint efforts through the Hong Kong/Guangdong Cooperation Joint Conference and the Hong Kong/Guangdong Environmental Protection Liaison Group have achieved significant progress in protecting the environment.

Recognizing the pressure that is being put onto the environment by the intensive development in the Region, and the importance of a good environment to the health of all people in the Region and to their future prospects, the Guangdong Provincial Government and the HKSAR Government undertake to step up cooperation on cross-boundary environmental issues.

To better co-ordinate this joint effort, the Guangdong Provincial Government and the HKSAR Government have agreed to set up a "Joint Working Group on Sustainable Development and Environmental Protection" under the Joint Conference. This will be led by the Director, Environmental Protection Bureau of Guangdong and Secretary for Environment and Food of the HKSAR Government.

As a matter of priority, both sides have resolved to undertake the following -

(a) Both Governments have commenced joint topical studies on acid rain, nitrogen dioxide, photochemical smog and particulates to identify the sources of problem that affect air quality in the Pearl River Delta Region and to recommend effective mitigation measures. Both sides pledge to complete the joint study by early 2001 and devise as soon as possible control strategies to jointly improve air quality in the Region;

(b) both sides are concerned about air pollution brought about by motor vehicles in both places. It is therefore necessary to establish the "Hong Kong-Guangdong Motor Diesel Fuel Specification Working Group" to look into the feasibility of harmonizing motor diesel fuel specifications between the two places and formulate a concrete action plan to achieve such harmonization. The Working Group will also explore measures that could be implemented in the short term to reduce air pollution caused by cross-boundary traffic;

(c) establish the "Hong Kong-Guangdong Working Group on Afforestation and Conservation" to forge closer co-operation on the development of sustainable forestry and nature conservation, including the exchange of scientific information and technological know-how;

(d) the new closed aqueduct of the Dongshen Water Supply System would be completed by 2002. To ensure the quality of the water supplied, both sides reiterate their great concern for improving and protecting the water quality of Dongjiang and their further co-operation on pollution control and on improving the water quality;

(e) sewage generated and discharged from Guangdong and Hong Kong has an impact on the water quality of the Pearl River Estuary. To improve the water quality in the Estuary, both sides agree to enhance exchange regarding the protection of and co-operation on the water environment so as to enable both sides to implement proposals for protecting the water quality of the Pearl River Delta Region and to formulate a management plan for the Region;

(f) the continued urban development of Guangdong and Hong Kong generates pressure on the air and water quality, land and ecological conditions of both places. Both sides are concerned about the environmental impacts of urban planning and development and intend to strengthen co-operation and liaison with each other in this area, with a view to pre-empting and mitigating environmental impacts arising from urban planning and development.

The two Governments will encourage co-operation in research on environmental and planning issues that will contribute to sustainable development of the Pearl River Delta Region.

The two Governments will continue to work closely on the implementation of action plans to improve the environment in Deep Bay (Shenzhen Bay) and Mirs Bay, and to co-operate in the conservation of Chinese White Dolphins.

End/Wednesday, October 6, 1999

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