How Digital Technology Facilitates Environmental Policy Making

The 14th five-year plan for National Informatization emphasised the acceleration of digital transformation. It aims to construct a digital China by building a smart digital infrastructure and making efficient use of data to unleash innovation in digital productivity, as well as using blockchain technology to create shared digital social governance and efficient digital government service systems.

Regarding digital transformation, China has already reached advanced international standards in building digital infrastructure, such as 5G, Internet of Things, cloud computing and industrial Internet of Things. For example, as a new national blockchain infrastructure, Sparkchain Network and Blockchain Identifier Infrastructure (BIF) provides smart digital identification and distributed ledger technologies that enable privacy-enhanced computation and blockchain sharing.

Sparkchain Network has a green finance backbone node that empowers the construction of smart, green infrastructure in line with W3C standards. The green financial node can also make use of decentralised technologies to realise the interoperability and global exchange of ecological assets and carbon credits.

What Hong Kong should learn from this is the efficiency in digital transformation. China’s system has greatly enhanced real-time IoT, smart planning and monitoring of natural and land resources. It covers real time and dynamic sensing capability of natural resource development, asset management, territorial space planning, arable land conservation, and ecological restoration, as well as the monitoring of marine resources, meteorological, geological and marine disasters.

In accordance with the "unified base map, unified standard, unified planning, and unified platform", China is promoting the construction of a three-dimensional "map" of natural resources and a territorial spatial planning information platform. Such governance system plays a fundamental role in strengthening integrated supervision, analysis and prediction, and macro decision-making.

In Hong Kong, different government departments hold different sets of information. For example, our Environmental Impact Assessment Report has accumulated a lot of valuable data over the years. The government should compile and centralise the data from various departments and make it available to the public when it is ready.

In fact, ensuring open and transparent data helps facilitate the process of consensus building. It provides a knowledge basis for discussion among stakeholders, fostering meaningful dialogue and gathering insights of public and private sectors, environmental and community groups. This can be of great benefit to public consultations on land use, conservation, development planning, and environmental policy making.

The world we currently live in is full of useful information. In a coastal city like Hong Kong, even the ebb and flow of the tide contains massive amount of information, such as storm and disaster data. In addition, our country parks, rivers, urban trees and roadside air quality contain data that show our interaction with the environment. Careful analysis of these patterns can reflect the direct and indirect effects of human activity on the economy.

China's integrated environmental management information platform provides the basis for precise, scientific and legal pollution control. From energy use, atmospheric environment to watershed management or from strengthening climate response to promoting a low-carbon transition, all are supported by digitised smart monitoring and support. Digital monitoring plays an important role in wildlife conservation. Other domains like rural digital economy, public health monitoring, smart elderly care services, corporate social responsibility have also entered a period of digital transformation.

Hong Kong is a densely populated coastal city with limited land supply, yet rich in biodiversity. Precise and accurate data are essential for pollution control and environmental risk analysis. Nature and biodiversity provide us with valuable resources and productivity, as well as a pleasant holiday hideaway. In the face of urban and economic development pressures, we must keep pace with the times and adopt all possible tools of digitisation to assist in environmental policy making and monitoring.

Last but not least, while integrating with the economy of the Greater Bay Area, we must protect the water resources and water quality of the Pearl River Basin, which is home to 87 million people and a valuable ecosystem. To better achieve this goal, we need to speak and make decisions using credible data.

Interested Topic:
Green Economy

You may find interested in
Back To Top