The Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Henry Tang, and the Executive Vice-Governor of the Sichuan Provincial Government, Mr Wei Hong, co-chaired the second High-level Meeting Under the Coordination Mechanism for HKSAR’s Participation in Restoration and Reconstruction in Sichuan today (May 27), which was attended by representatives of relevant bureaux/departments from Hong Kong and Sichuan. During the meeting, both sides reviewed the progress of the HKSAR's first and second stage reconstruction support work, and discussed the plan for the third stage work.
The first High-Level Meeting under the Coordination Mechanism was held in August in Sichuan last year. Since then, the Sichuan and Hong Kong sides have worked closely to take forward the first and second stage reconstruction support work. The progress so far includes the signing of the "Cooperation Arrangement on the HKSAR's Reconstruction Support Work", which sets out the basic principles, funding and project management arrangements regarding projects supported by the HKSAR; obtaining the Legislative Council's approval for a funding commitment of HK$6 billion; confirming the first and second stages of 122 projects; approving feasibility study reports of 20 first stage projects, and signing of Project Cooperation Arrangements for 18 first stage projects. The first stage projects are proceeding towards the project implementation stage. Approval of feasibility study reports of the second stage projects is also in progress.
To tie in with Sichuan's overall plan on reconstruction, the meeting agreed to make further efforts to ensure the quality of works and timely implementation within the parameters of the relevant laws and procedures, so that people in the quake-stricken areas can resume normal life as soon as possible. The immediate target is to strive for the commencement of works of all the first stage projects very shortly and approval of feasibility study reports of the second stage projects within June, so as to enable both sides to sign the Project Cooperation Arrangements for the second stage projects and initiate the funding and project implementation process as soon as possible.
Having consolidated our experience and having regard to Sichuan's latest overall reconstruction plan and the needs of the affected areas, both sides agreed in principle that the third stage reconstruction projects should comprise two core elements as follows:
(i) the Deyang Aba Highway – Mianzhu to Maoxian Section, which is an extremely important lifeline connecting the severely affected counties of Mianzhu and Maoxian; and
(ii) continue to support some urgent medical and health reconstruction projects, and to construct a network of rehabilitation centres in the severely affected/seriously affected counties, on top of the eight planned integrated social services centres and two rehabilitation centres for the disabled in the first and second stages. These centres will enhance the existing network of rehabilitation services and meet the needs of the disabled during the different stages of rehabilitation treatment and recovery. The rehabilitation centres and medical facilities under consideration by the HKSAR Government comprise about 30 projects.
The Sichuan and Hong Kong sides will continue to fine-tune the third stage projects and related cost estimates. The Legislative Council and the Hong Kong community have all along been very supportive of the HKSAR's reconstruction support efforts. The Government will report to the Legislative Council the latest progress of the first and second stages of the HKSAR's reconstruction work in good time and will put forth the recommendations for the third stage support work to gain the support of the Legislative Council.
Vice-Governor Wei Hong expressed his heartfelt gratitude to all those in Hong Kong who have rendered their support to the restoration and reconstruction work. During their stay in Hong Kong on May 26 - 27, the 23-strong Sichuan Government delegation will visit local education and rehabilitation services organisations. They will also exchange views with relevant departments on issues including the management of public works projects, experience in anti-corruption work and slope maintenance.
Members from the Hong Kong side attending the High-level Meeting today included the Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, the Secretary for Food and Health, the Secretary for Home Affairs, the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, the Secretary for Development, the Permanent Secretary for Development, the Under Secretary for Education, the Director of the Economic and Trade Office in Chengdu and other representatives from the relevant bureaux. Members from the Sichuan side include high level representatives from the Sichuan Development and Reform Commission, Department of Foreign (Hong Kong and Macao) Affairs, Department of Supervision, Department of Civil Affairs, Department of Construction, Department of Finance, Department of Health, and Department of Audit.
Ends/Wednesday, May 27, 2009