A coalition of conservation groups is calling on the secretariat of an international convention to probe the city’s failure to honour its biodiversity commitments as local officials wrap up a three-month public consultation this Thursday. The groups have initiated an online campaign that calls on residents to send letters to the UN Environment Programme and Convention on Biological Diversity (UNEP/CBD) secretariat, to point out the city’s “violations” and failure to meet the 2020 Aichi Biodiversity Targets under the convention. China joined the convention in 1993 and extended it to Hong Kong in 2011. The government has been in the process of drawing up the city’s first Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (BSAP). Hong Kong environmental advisers say government’s biodiversity plan for city is short of ideas The consultation document has been slammed for mostly summarising existing conservation policies, rather than floating new measures to protect biodiversity. “The Hong Kong government is not only deceiving the Hong Kong public, but also deceiving the international community by green-washing all the malpractices under the name of BSAP,” says the draft letter by the groups, which include the Land Justice League, Designing Hong Kong and Save Lantau Alliance. Rather than protecting biodiversity, the perpetual destruction or development of green belt and agricultural land – especially private land – and massive reclamation works such as the third airport runway were actually increasing habitat loss, they said, none of which was mentioned in the document. “This is totally unacceptable and we hope UNEP/CBD secretariat proactively investigates the problems.” Land Justice League community organiser Chong Lap-pan pointed out that without any new measures or goals, most of the 20 Aichi targets would not be met. “One of the Aichi targets is to reduce habitat destruction to zero ... But our land and planning policies are not made in accordance with this target,” he said. Another target, increasing marine protected areas to 10 per cent of territorial waters, was likely to be ignored too as the handful of marine parks being planned only brings the proportion to less than 5 per cent. Illegal development at Hong Kong wetlands threatens bird life, activists say Even the 12 priority sites the government set aside for conservation in 2004, such as Tai Ho and Sha Lo Tung, have been under constant threat from vegetation clearance, landfilling or unauthorised development, Chong said. Chinese University land policy academic Dr Edward Yiu Chung-yim, who is part of the coalition, said the Chinese version of the consultation paper ignored more than 400 action plans suggested by working groups. The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department has repeatedly reassured concerned groups that the paper is not the actual plan and that the government would consider the many proposals in preparing the final document.