How Digital Technology Facilitates Environmental Policy Making
| Plato Yip, Chairperson of Friends of the Earth (HK)
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
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.
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.
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.
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.