Aspiring to represent more than a mere “annual” report, this publication commemorates Civic Exchange’s 15th anniversary in 2015, offering a snapshot of the different research and stakeholder engagement initiatives that have taken place during our history and brought us to the successes of this past year.
In 2014 we challenged ourselves to reconsider our organisation, our strategic direction and our impact in Hong Kong. Building on strengths honed over the past 14 years and taking into account some of our community’s most pressing issues, we encapsulated our vision as, “shaping a liveable and sustainable Hong Kong”, within a framework of promoting collective wellbeing.
It was another productive and fruitful year for Civic Exchange. We continued to make significant contributions to help frame and advance policy in deliberation in areas such as air quality management, ports emissions, energy, water resources management, nature conservation, urban liveability, well-being, equal opportunities and conflict transformation. We not only contributed new data, but also added new perspectives – we demonstrated the ability to put issues in context to allow for better understanding of the challenges facing us today and in the future. Civic Exchange offered insights into how these issues and challenges can be addressed.
2012 was a year of change, not only for Hong Kong’s political arena, but also for Civic Exchange. We sadly bid farewell to our colleagues Christine Loh and Mike Kilburn, while we continued our policy research work and stakeholder engagement initiatives. We embarked on a new project that looked at how walkable Hong Kong is, and we also started a project on Hong Kong’s energy mix with the goal of further increasing the Hong Kong public’s energy literacy. In 2012, we took steps to further build our capacity in nature conservation and water resources management. We continued our work in gender studies as well as students with disabilities in Hong Kong.
We are in the thinking business; our mission is to advance solutions and expedite action. The annual report highlights our work and achievements, from the Fair Winds Charter to the Climate Dialogue/C40 Cities conference, as well as ongoing commitments and collaborative work on air quality, climate change, energy, nature conservation and conflict transformation, research on hydropower developments in China, flooding on the Pearl River Delta, and income equality.
2010 marked the 10th anniversary for Civic Exchange. We recently produced this special 10th anniversary publication to celebrate what we have achieved since our establishment. This publication also includes our 2010 annual report. The past year can be characterised as ‘harvest’, as earlier work has borne fruit in each of our key research areas, including land use & energy, climate change, air & health, and governance. We thank all collaborators and funders for their generous support.
The work of Civic Exchange from October 2008 to September 2009 cannot be divorced from that of previous years. Since we began in 2000, we have made significant contributions in air pollution and health, energy and climate change, urban design and high performance buildings, sustainable development, the Pearl River Delta, good governance, public records management, and public budgeting. In the past twelve months, we have expanded on what we can offer to policy-makers and the public on these subjects.
In our areas of focus, Civic Exchange is frequently the dominant and most respected contributor of new data, perspectives, issue-framing and solutions. We are able to do this because of our ability to raise good questions in our inquiry, to adopt a multi-disciplinary approach to exploring issues and to collaborate with knowledgeable partners. We also never ignore political processes and players since public policies and politics cannot be divorced. Increasingly, the conduct of our work includes wide involvement of experts and stakeholders, and the relevance of our endeavours extends beyond Hong Kong to South China, nationally and even globally.
The year 2007 has always been important in Hong Kong’s political consciousness as it represents a decade after 1997, when Hong Kong became a Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China. The events relating to the transfer of sovereignty from British to Chinese rule remain crystal clear in our collective memory. The trials and tribulations of the past ten years have also left their mark. Hong Kong survived two severe economic downturns, an infectious diseases outbreak in 2003 that made the city a pariah in the world, rocky politics that bought out half a million people in protest against the government, and the downfall of the then administration.
In our 5th year, it is becoming clear what areas of expertise Civic Exchange has accumulated over the years. We have developed core competence in approaching public policy from a multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary basis; we are a leader in air quality and environmentally-related research; and we devote considerable time to exploring how the Hong Kong constitutional system should evolve.