The concept of civil society was reinvented in the late 1980s in response to the rapid market development and the end of the Cold War. The collapse of the Soviet Union marked the rapid development of global market due to higher international security. Market development gradually leads to the development of civil society for two reasons: Firstly, the middle class helps to fight more freedom from the government as they want to gain more and more control of themselves. This situation, allows spaces for civil society to develop. Some donors search for NGOs to implement their civic or economic related interests and visions.1 Secondly, the retreat of the “welfare” states in western countries further triggers the emergence of civil society as people want to address the problem themselves instead of solely depending on the invisible hand of the free market.
Hong Kong, which is recognized as a newly industrialized economy (NIE) has adopted the minimal-interventionist principle in economic development for a long Low tax rate and free market policies are the priorities of the Hong Kong government. _____________________________________________________________________1 Howell, J. and Pearce, 2001, Civil Society and Development: A Critical, Exploration, Colorado: Lynne Rienner.time. In order to keep the government expenditure at low level, NGOs began to flourish after the Second World War in the form of providing social services. Caritas is a prominent example. Organizations in civil society have served as agents for policy implementation for a long time. However, for policy formulation, the government is quite conservative in sharing power with civil society. Civil society is said to be very important in the implementation of democracy as civil society is a representation of diverse interests of the people.
In the planning system of Hong Kong, though the government was willing to involve more public participation in the process with the increasing force of democratization between 1990 and 1997, the role of civil society in planning policy formulation and implementation was not yet clear. According to the experiences of some UK cities, partnership between civil society and the local governments can facilitate sustainable development. It is yet to know whether such kind of partnership is possible in Hong Kong or not. So the aim of this paper is to find out the challenges and opportunities of mobilizing partnership between the government and civil society.
Aims of the study
This paper aims to explore the challenges and opportunities in fostering partnership between civil society and the government in the planning system of Hong Kong. This paper is based on the central argument that civil society organizations (“CSOs”) should play significant role in the planning system to explore the challenges and opportunities. It is argued that CSOs are important for promoting more effective idea in the policy planning in terms of reflecting the needs of the locals as well as the moral values neglected by both market and the government.
It is believed that the challenges and opportunities are not that straightforward to be understood as they should involve a lot of other factors. These factors are to be examined in order to provide a clearer picture for the analysis.
Structure of the paper
This study is composed of six sections:-
Session I begins with an introduction. It states the purpose of this paper and the content structure.
Section II is the theoretical framework established for understanding the theoretical meaning of civil society and the importance of partnership between the government and the CSOs.
Section III is the background about development of citizenship in Hong Kong. It is found that the civil society in Hong Kong is becoming mature.
Section IV discusses on the six major factors contributing to the challenges in the relationship...