Speech by SDEV at presentation ceremony of UNESCO Asia-Pacific Award for Cultural Heritage Conservation to Green Hub

Hong Kong (HKSAR) -      Following is the speech by the Secretary for Development, Mr Paul Chan, at the presentation ceremony of the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Award for Cultural Heritage Conservation to the Green Hub today (January 6):

Dr Duong (Chair of Jury for the UNESCO Heritage Awards and Chief of Culture Unit, UNESCO Bangkok, Dr Duong Bich Hanh), Andrew (Chairperson of Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden Corporation, Mr Andrew McAulay), Chi-pang (Chairman of the Advisory Committee on Built Heritage Conservation, Dr Lau Chi-pang), friends, ladies and gentlemen,

     Good afternoon. My warmest congratulations to the Green Hub for receiving the Honourable Mention in the 2016 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation. It was just only two months that I last shook hands with my friends at the Green Hub when presenting two 2016 Green Building Awards conferred to the Green Hub by the Hong Kong Green Building Council in November last year. Time flies, indeed, when we are riding the tailwind of the Green Hub's excellence.

     The UNESCO award bestows an international recognition of the outstanding efforts and achievement of the Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden (KFBG) in the Green Hub revitalisation project. I understand that the Green Hub was selected for the award after a stringent and rigorous process among the some 40 entries. So, well done!

     It has always been the Government's goal to put our historic buildings, which have served their original purposes, into good adaptive re-use and give them a new lease of life benefiting the community. The Green Hub, which was previously the Old Tai Po Police Station, is the fourth project under our Revitalising Historic Buildings Through Partnership Scheme to have won a UNESCO award since the launch of this joint public-private endeavour in 2008. This quartet of accolades now makes it a grand total of 17 Hong Kong project recipients in the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation since its inception in 2000. It is a great encouragement to the Hong Kong community and our stakeholders in heritage conservation.

     The Green Hub serves as a centre for developing affordable and meaningful strategies for environmentally responsible living. Among other things, a heritage exhibition and a heritage trail are provided.

Taking advantage of the building's historical and architectural value, it has become an ecological landmark in Hong Kong. I am particularly impressed with the rich cultural and ecological resources of the site, including the heritage trees and egret habitat that have been much treasured by nature lovers. It is no wonder that the Green Hub is highly regarded by the UNESCO jury for its transformation of a deserted relic into a vibrant venue for learning about sustainable living, which at the same time reveals layers of cultural history embedded in its building while maintaining the site's distinctive ecosystem. I have no doubt that this place has become an oasis in the midst of Hong Kong's highly urbanised environment.

     To date, the Government has launched five batches of historic buildings under the Revitalisation Scheme with eight projects in full operation. With the full opening of the Blue House Cluster project in Wan Chai under Batch II of the Scheme in the coming months, and projects of other batches currently in the pipeline, you are going to see a lot more cultural landmarks and creative uses of our historic buildings in Hong Kong.

     Once again, congratulations to the KFBG for its excellent work on this promising sustainability project and the honour it has brought to Hong Kong's heritage conservation arena.

     In closing, may I wish you all a happy, healthy and blessed 2017. Thank you.

Published on: 2017-01-06

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