Steps should be taken to strengthen public participation and increase transparency when devising and implementing strategies on environmental protection, legislators said. Legco passed a motion tabled by legislator Choi So-yuk urging the government to draw up an agenda on sustainable development, and establish a council to oversee it. Chief Secretary Donald Tsang Yam-kuen said the government would announce the formation of the council soon and promised to consider a strategy for sustainable development. He said that following a 12-month study on sustainable development, now might be the right time to consider a long-term strategy. But with Hong Kong in the throes of economic difficulties, the public might not recognise long-term goals as these would not bring immediate benefits. Ms Choi, of the Democratic Alliance for Betterment of Hong Kong, said Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa had promised in his 1999 policy address to set up a council on sustainable development, but it had yet to be established. 'It is very worrying and makes us very doubtful over the government's sincerity in setting up the council,' Ms Choi said. Although the government has introduced sustainable development assessments for major policies and projects, Ms Choi said the process and results were hidden from the public. Independent legislator Audrey Eu Yuet-mee said the crux of sustainable development lay in public participation in policy formulation, but the government had adopted a top-down approach.