Welcome remarks by:
- Mr Anthony CHOW Chairman, The Hong Kong Jockey Club
- The Hon Mrs Carrie LAM Chief Executive, The HKSAR
In his opening remarks, Mr Anthony Chow said Philanthropy for Better Cities Forum (PBC Forum) was an opportunity for philanthropists and others to exchange views, facilitate collaboration and cultivate partnerships, all in the hope of creating better cities.
Explaining the Club’s motivation in beginning the PBC Forum initiative in 2016, he said half of the world lived in cities, a proportion that was expected to increase to two-thirds by 2050. This would bring both opportunities and challenges. Effective public health, education, housing, transport and the environment would all come under greater pressure and were essential to building good cities. Equally crucial was to take into account the changing demographics within cities. This reality was particularly important in Asia, where most of the world’s fastest growing urban areas were located.
Mr Chow went on to say that these priorities were best approached through collaboration and partnership. Recognising this, The Hong Kong Jockey Club worked with a range of stakeholders and last year donated HKD4.2 billion to the community, making it one of the world’s top 10 charity donors.
Mr Chow then welcomed the speakers and delegates and thanked them for their participation. He paid particular attention to the work of two speakers, Nobel laureates Professor James Heckman and Professor Muhammad Yunus, noting the relevance of their work on inequality, redistribution and social businesses to the ideals of the conference and the Club.
In closing, Mr Chow expressed the hope that by continuing the dialogue started two years ago, the 2018 PBC Forum would promote philanthropic collaboration and lasting partnerships and in turn, the building of better cities.
Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Mrs Carrie Lam said her Government was committed to building a caring, compassionate, innovative, and inclusive society, noting that 60% of Government expenditure went on health, education and social welfare, and spending on the latter had increased by over 80% in the past six years. She expressed a commitment to continuing this positive trajectory. Citing the proud history of philanthropy in Hong Kong, she noted the SAR’s strong performance in global indices that measured the strength of the philanthropy sectors in different countries and regions.
Given the scale of social issues facing cities, Hong Kong and other urban areas must be innovative, Mrs Carrie Lam stressed. In recognition of this, the Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship (SIE) Development Fund was established five years ago. It had since put more than HKD120 million into various successful projects. She cited a number of SIE projects that had helped social causes in Hong Kong, for example one promoting affordable housing. Also noted was SIE’s work in new funding options such as Social Impact Bonds, which enabled governments to use private investment to fund public projects.
Mrs Carrie Lam closed her remarks by highlighting the importance of involving businesses in efforts to build a collaborative, innovative, and inclusive society, as noted in Professor Michael Porter’s PBC 2016 keynote address on Shared Value. She said that businesses in Hong Kong were increasingly aware of this opportunity, and were already making very significant donations to good causes. The priority now was for them to do more, by systematically incorporating Shared Value into every aspect of their DNA.