The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved a US$ 400 million loan to help enhance ecological protection and reduce water pollution in China’s Yangtze River basin on December 17 2021. This financing complements more than $6 billion of China’s own resources and will help reduce water pollution from plastics and animal manure and improve wastewater treatment. The project is in line with the World Bank’s support to China in areas relating to global public goods, such as environmentally sustainable growth.
The Yangtze River basin covers 19 provinces in China and provides the main source of water for almost 600 million people, and as a region accounts for 45 percent of China’s GDP. It is reportedly a major conveyer of plastic and other pollutants to the world’s oceans. It is also home to a third of China’s endangered species and 40 percent of its rare or endangered plants.
The Yangtze River Protection and Ecological Restoration Program will support China’s strategy for the basin and help implement key elements of the Yangtze River Protection Law. Adopted on December 26, 2020, the Law aims at improving the management of water resources in the basin, including through better coordination across line agencies and levels of government. The Program will support this coordination by strengthening data collection and sharing, and by improving water management and allocation. Local level activities will help reduce plastics pollution by developing incentives for the collection of agricultural plastic film, improve wastewater management and collection systems at the township level, and address agricultural pollution through improved management of livestock manure.
“The Program is an excellent example of the evolving partnership with China, with a focus on strengthening institutions and contributing to global public goods.” said Martin Raiser, World Bank Country Director for China, Mongolia and Korea. “By supporting coordination across line agencies and levels of government, improving data collection and accountability, and leveraging considerable budget resources, this Program will help China achieve real impacts in pollution reduction in the Yangtze basin at scale.”
Total financing for this program over the five-year period is expected to be 94 percent funded by the government, mostly at the provincial level, to support the achievement of the targeted results. The basin-scale activities will be implemented through the National Development and Reform Commission’s Yangtze River Economic Belt Coordination Office by the Yangtze River Water Resources Commission. Provincial level activities will support water management and pollution control programs in Jiangxi and Hunan, two provinces along the middle ranges of the Yangtze basin, containing some of its largest tributaries.
The World Bank Group supports efforts to address marine plastic pollution and is the world’s largest multilateral source of financing for water in developing countries, working closely with partners to achieve “A Water-Secure World for All” by sustaining water resources, delivering services, and building resilience.