A community watchdog on the government-appointed Council for Sustainable Development has criticized it for being reticent on important issues and falling far short of the people's expectations.

The government body is not representative and has skirted around issues such as developments on Lantau, harbor reclamation and West Kowloon, the Hong Kong People's Council for Sustainable Development said.

"The body is headed by the Chief Secretary for Administration [and Acting Chief Executive Donald Tsang] and people have high hopes. But in its two years of operation, no initiative has been made to strengthen departmental cooperation on sustainability,'' said Plato Yip, vice chairman of the People's Council. The watchdog group consists of about 70 professional members.

``It has not lived up to its role as a gatekeeper, and it has avoided commenting on important issues like Lantau, West Kowloon and reclamation. It has simply remained silent,'' he said.


Edgar Cheng, vice chairman of the council, has said the government council only aims at gathering public opinion on sustainable development and advising the government. The council, established by the Chief Executive and chaired by Tsang, commences its third term today.

Yip said the body has made progress on matters of energy, waste and urban planning, on which public forums have been organized. But for the council to be more effective and representative, he says half of its members should be publicly appointed.

A campaign to name Hong Kong's most unsustainable practices was launched by the People's Council Sunday to raise community awareness, Yip said.

Included on the list are the shelved ``Super Prison'' project on Hei Ling Chau, Hopewell's Mega Tower, and waste dumping in Lam Tsuen, Tai Po.