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FAQ

  1. What kinds of application does the Countryside Conservation Funding Scheme (CCFS) accept?
  2. What are the locations that the CCFS projects can be conducted in Hong Kong?
  3. Why CCFS does not support projects in Lantau?
  4. Who may apply for funding support under the CCFS?
  5. What is the nature of MA projects?
  6. What is the nature of BH projects?
  7. What is the nature of CR projects?
  8. What is the nature of RA projects?
  9. Can the target built heritage of the CCFS projects be graded historical building?
  10. Would items listed in the Intangible Cultural Heritage Inventory of Hong Kong be considered under the CCFS?
  11. What are the funding limits for CCFS projects?
  12. What are the maximum and minimum durations of CCFS projects? Could a CCFS project be renewed afterwards?
  13. When will the CCFS applications be assessed?
  14. How long does the vetting and approval process take?
  15. What is the vetting procedure for CCFS applications?
  16. What are the vetting criteria of the MA projects?
  17. What are the vetting criteria of the BH, CR and RA projects?
  18. Can other conservation targets be included in MA projects?
  19. Is it acceptable if the MA project does not have any additional element for revitalisation of architectural and cultural aspects? Will the additional elements for revitalisation of architectural and cultural aspects affect the assessment results of the application?
  20. Can the MA project solely enhance the architectural and/or cultural aspects but not ecological/nature conservation aspect?
  21. Is there any requirement for public access for the revitalised built heritage item of MA project?
  22. Is there any essential requirement for CCFS projects?
  23. Can previously rejected applications be resubmitted?
  24. Can the applicant organisation apply for funding support from the CCFS and at the same time apply for other sources of public funding support for the same project?
  25. Are there any previous or existing MA, BH, CR and RA projects which I can refer to as examples?

  1. What kinds of application does the Countryside Conservation Funding Scheme (CCFS) accept?

The CCFS launched in October 2019 starts to accept applications for Nature Conservation Management Agreement (MA) projects. Since May 2020, the CCFS expands its funding scope to also accept applications for Formulation of Proposals on Restoration of Built Heritage (BH), Cultural Rehabilitation / Revitalisation (CR) projects, and Research Activities (RA) on Countryside Conservation and Revitalisation on a stand-alone basis without the need of linkage to any MA projects.

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  1. What are the locations that the CCFS projects can be conducted in Hong Kong?

Eligible sites for MA and BH projects include the priority sites for enhanced conservation, and private land in country park enclaves or country parks, excluding Lantau, as listed in Appendix 1 of the Guide to Application. CR and RA projects can be conducted in remote countryside, also excluding Lantau, where public transportation (includes railways, buses, minibuses, ferries (“kaitos” excluded) and tram) is not accessible within 500m walking distance of the site.

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  1. Why CCFS does not support projects in Lantau?

Lantau projects fall under the ambit of another funding scheme to be set up under the Sustainable Lantau Office of the Civil Engineering and Development Department.

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  1. Who may apply for funding support under the CCFS?

Eligible applicant and co-organising/ assisting/ supporting organisations must be local non-profit-making organisations (NPOs) (e.g. universities, community bodies and green groups), groups formed under a local NPO, or organisations which are exempted from tax under section 88 of the Inland Revenue Ordinance (Cap. 112).

The applicant and co-organising/ assisting/ supporting organisations should provide a copy of the organisation’s registration document, a copy of the letter issued by the Inland Revenue Department on tax-exemption under section 88 of the Inland Revenue Ordinance (Cap. 112), a copy of the articles of association or constitution, and a list of the principal persons-in-charge and their positions, as evidence of proof.

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  1. What is the nature of MA projects?

MA projects must enhance the ecological or nature conservation of lands under private ownership through management agreement between non-profit-making organisations (NPOs) and landowners and/or tenants. Financial incentives can be provided to the landowners and/or tenants for exchanging the management rights over their land or their cooperation.

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  1. What is the nature of BH projects?

BH projects aim at formulating proposals on how to restore / revitalise the target built heritage, which should include relevant studies that support the feasibility of the proposals.

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  1. What is the nature of CR projects?

CR projects aim at enhancing public appreciation and awareness in cultural conservation of the cultural assets, which should be unique or representative to the local community of the site under application.

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  1. What is the nature of RA projects?

RA projects aim at harnessing the local and/or overseas experience and knowledge and injecting novel solutions and elements to tackle local challenges on remote countryside conservation and revitalisation.

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  1. Can the target built heritage of the CCFS projects be graded historical building?

No, the revitalisation of architectural and cultural aspects of graded historical buildings assessed by the Antiquities Advisory Board are not eligible under the CCFS.

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  1. Would items listed in the Intangible Cultural Heritage Inventory of Hong Kong be considered under the CCFS?

No, items listed in Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Hong Kong and the Intangible Cultural Heritage Inventory published by the Intangible Cultural Heritage Office of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department would not be considered under the CCFS.

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  1. What are the funding limits for CCFS projects?

For MA projects, the CCFS will sponsor both the nature conservation aspect, architectural heritage and/or cultural assets of MA projects. The nature conservation part of all MA projects should observe a funding cap of HK$13 million for each application. If there are additional elements proposed in the MA project that can enhance revitalisation of architectural and/or cultural aspects of the project, and supplement the execution of the nature conservation aspects of the project, an extra funding of up to HK$2 million can be applied for those enhancement elements.

To allow projects with more flexibility, the applicant organisation may apply for a variation of funding components with a maximum of HK$12 million for the nature conservation part and HK$3 million for its architectural and/or cultural revitalisation efforts under the same MA project, while the total funding limit for each MA application should not exceed HK$15 million. Funds may be granted for full or partial support of projects.

For BH, CR and RA projects, the funding cap is HK$2 million for each application.

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  1. What are the maximum and minimum durations of CCFS projects? Could a CCFS project be renewed afterwards?

Each MA, BH, CR or RA projects under the CCFS should not last for more than three years. The minimum duration for each MA or CR project should be at least 12 months.  MA and CR projects will be considered for renewal subject to the merits of the respective renewal proposals.

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  1. When will the CCFS applications be assessed?

Since May 2020, CCFS applications are accepted all-year-round and will be assessed in two batches every year with two cut-off dates of submission for the two rounds of application assessment. The two cut-off dates of submission for application assessment are normally in April and October each year and the exact cut-off dates of each batch of submission will be announced in the CCFS webpage. Applications submitted after the cut-off date will be considered in the next round of application assessment.

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  1. How long does the vetting and approval process take?

The Advisory Committee on Countryside Conservation (ACCC) normally meets on a half-yearly basis.  Under normal circumstances and if no additional information is required, the applicant organisation will be informed of the outcome shortly after the concerned ACCC meeting in which its application is being considered.

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  1. What is the vetting procedure for CCFS applications?

All eligible CCFS applications received will first be vetted by Assessment Panels (APs) comprising members from EPD and relevant government departments according to the vetting criteria. The initial assessments and recommendations of the APs will then be submitted to the Vetting Subcommittee (VSC) of the ACCC for discussion. Applicant organisations may be invited to the VSC meetings to briefly present their project proposals and anticipated results, and answer enquiries of the VSC members, on a need basis. The VSC will discuss the applications and make recommendations to the ACCC for consideration of the applications and the funding amount, as appropriate.

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  1. What are the vetting criteria of the MA projects?

The vetting criteria of the MA projects are specified in Section 2.9 of the Guide to Application, including the enhancement of the site concerned; sustainability of the project; capability of the applicant organisation; practicability of the implementation plan; reasonable and cost-effective budget; achievement of 5% contribution to the total budget; and proposed appropriate educational activities. For applications of renewal of MA projects previously supported by the Environment and Conservation Fund (ECF) or the CCFS, track-record of the previous project will also be taken into consideration.

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  1. What are the vetting criteria of the BH, CR and RA projects?

The vetting criteria of the BH, CR and RA projects are specified in Section 2.11 of the Guide to Application, including a specific criterion for each of the 3 project types based on the project natures, the potential of the project in bringing to remote village revitalisation; viability of the proposal on its capability to maintain and upkeep of project objectives; technical and project management capability of the applicant organisation; pragmatic budget; and appropriate educational and/or other relevant activities proposal to effectively promote village revitalisation or conservation in the community.

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  1. Can other conservation targets be included in MA projects?

Yes, for application of MA projects with additional target(s) on built heritage and/or cultural assets conservation, the applicant organisation should provide details and demonstrate how such site specific items could add values to the MA project. The applicant organisation should clearly explain how the tangible and intangible benefits could be brought, and public awareness on nature conservation could be raised by implementing such measures.

It should be noted that funding support by CCFS is not applicable to the conservation and/or revitalisation of (i) architectural and cultural aspects of graded historical buildings assessed by the Antiquities Advisory Board and (ii) intangible cultural items included in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Hong Kong and the Intangible Cultural Heritage Inventory of Hong Kong published by the Intangible Cultural Heritage Office of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department.

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  1. Is it acceptable if the MA project does not have any additional element for revitalisation of architectural and cultural aspects? Will the additional elements for revitalisation of architectural and cultural aspects affect the assessment results of the application?

Yes, it is acceptable if the MA project does not have any additional revitalisation element, as the main focus of the MA project is on ecological/nature conservation. On the other hand, the enhancement on revitalisation of architectural and cultural aspects, if any, will be considered as non-essential additional elements for MA project which will only affect the magnitude of the approved funding but not the assessment for the passing mark of the application. The funding limit for each MA project application would be HK$13 million without additional revitalisation element.

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  1. Can the MA project solely enhance the architectural and/or cultural aspects but not ecological/nature conservation aspect?

No, MA projects must contribute to enhancing the ecological/nature conservation of the sites concerned through management agreements between NPOs and landowners and/or tenants.  As such, MA projects must include enhancement of ecological or nature conservation aspect as the main focus.

For application of MA projects with additional target(s) on built heritage and/or cultural assets conservation, the applicant organisation should provide details and demonstrate how such site specific items could add values to the MA project. The applicant organisation should clearly explain how the tangible and intangible benefits could be brought, and public awareness on nature conservation could be raised by implementing such measures.

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  1. Is there any requirement for public access for the revitalised built heritage item of MA project?

Yes, for MA application with built heritage conservation, the proposed provision of public access to the building(s) and publicity programme should comprise at least 50% of the project period. For example, for a 3-year project, the maintenance works of the built heritage should be completed in 18 months or less. The remaining period should be arranged for public access to the building(s).  If there is any slippage or delay on the proposed maintenance works such that the requirement on providing public access to the building(s) for at least 50% of original project period cannot be fulfilled, the CCFS Secretariat may request the recipient organisation to implement measures such as extending the period for public access to fulfil the requirement without additional funding support.

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  1. Is there any essential requirement for CCFS projects?

Yes, MA projects must involve management agreement between NPOs and landowners and/or tenants for exchange of management rights over their land or their cooperation with financial incentives, and the ecological or nature conservation enhancement activities should be primarily conducted on private lands.  As for BH projects, the applicant organisation should assess the feasibility of securing consent from relevant premises owner(s) / government department(s) and include the assessment in the application. It is the applicant organisation’s responsibility to check the land status of the land / premises under application and obtain consent from the concerned private land owner(s)/tenant(s)/relevant government department(s) for implementing the project prior to its application for funding support from CCFS. Please refer to Section 2.4 of the Guide to Application for the details of the essential requirements.

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  1. Can previously rejected applications be resubmitted?

Yes, for previously rejected applications, the applicant organisations can revise the content of their applications and resubmit the revised applications. These applications, together with other new applications, will be considered on equal footing at the next round of assessment. In completing the application form for a resubmitted application, the applicant should set out clearly the differences of the resubmitted application vis-à-vis the previous one.

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  1. Can the applicant organisation apply for funding support from the CCFS and at the same time apply for other sources of public funding support for the same project?

Yes, applicant organisations can seek sponsorships from other sources to fund part of the projects financially supported by the CCFS. The applicant organisations should clearly indicate in their submission details regarding sponsorships outside CCFS.  Applicant organisations should note that the other funding sources should not bring the Government into disrepute or give rise to any actual or perceived conflict of interest, there will not be undue publicity for the funding bodies, and the sponsorship is not aimed to generate commercial benefits.

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  1. Are there any previous or existing MA, BH, CR and RA projects which I can refer to as examples?

Yes, MA projects were funded by the ECF before the CCFS was launched in October 2019. Details of the approved MA projects funded by the ECF could be found in the ECF webpage while MA, BH, CR and RA projects funded by the CCFS could be found in the CCFS webpage.

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