HKU Sustainable Lai Chi Wo Programme selected by UNDP as the first HK case to illustrate best local nature-based solutions to sustainable development
Aug 23, 2017

The Equator Initiative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has recently selected the Sustainable Lai Chi Wo programme (the Programme) – led by the Policy for Sustainability Lab of the Faculty of Social Sciences of the University of Hong Kong (HKU) – as the first and the only selected case from Hong Kong for inclusion in its Solutions Database, which showcases the best nature-based solutions to sustainable development undertaken by local communities around the globe.

Professor Peter Mathieson, President and Vice-Chancellor, HKU, announced the encouraging news today at the International Symposium of Collaborative Governance for Rural Sustainability (the Symposium) held at the Wang Gungwu Theatre on HKU’s main campus. The Programme offers a total of eight solutions among the 34 solutions from China and over 700 worldwide. The solutions featured in the Programme include community-based and cross-sector initiatives that aim to protect and revitalise the natural and cultural capital and diversity in rural areas. As recognised by the UNDP Equator Initiative’s Technical Advisory Committee, the eight solutions have successfully addressed nine of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Supported by The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited (HSBC), the Symposium is part of the Sustainable Lai Chi Wo programme which aims to incubate sustainability models for rural areas in Hong Kong and beyond. Leading international and local scholars and experts at the Symposium discussed the important agenda of achieving rural sustainability through collaborative governance, examining three different major aspects: partnerships for rural sustainability, socio-economic models for community development and measurement of sustainability. Cases from the USA, UK, Japan, Mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong were featured at the Symposium.

Mr Wong Kam-sing, Secretary for the Environment of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, opened the Symposium. Mr Wong outlined the Government’s efforts in promoting rural sustainability in Hong Kong and said: “the Government has adopted a diversified and flexible approach in supporting and promoting the conservation of rural areas through harnessing community efforts in recent years. We have actively engaged the local communities and assisted NGOs in advancing conservation and in co-managing rural areas using innovative approaches”.

It was also announced that HSBC is committed to support the next phase of the Sustainable Lai Chi Wo programme to establish the socio-economic and collaborative models for sustainable rural communities. Mr Zhang Hui-feng, Head of Corporate Sustainability, Asia Pacific, HSBC, said: “The next phases of the project will turn Lai Chi Wo into an innovation hub to demonstrate and to incubate new concepts of sustainable living and social-economic models that can be replicated locally and regionally. We hope Lai Chi Wo will be more than just a well-known sustainability showcase, but a leading portal for incubating social innovations and entrepreneurship to engage talents from different fields”.

Participants at the Symposium also discussed the challenges for the rural communities under rapid urbanization, especially those in Asia, and approaches to enhancing the viability and the sustainability of rural areas and communities.

Today’s discussion will be followed by excursions to Lai Chi Wo, Tai O and Yi O on August 19 and 20 respectively.

For more details about the Symposium and the Programme, please visit: and respectively.

For media enquiries, please contact
Ms Katie Chick, Faculty of Social Sciences, HKU (Tel: 91020425; email:

SOURCE / The University of Hong Kong