WASHINGTON, June 27, 2006 – Today the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved loans with a total amount of $668 million to the People’s Republic of China in support of four projects to address environmental problems and developing transport infrastructure. In addition, two projects from China received grants from the Global Environment Facility (GEF).
The Changjiang and Pearl River Watershed Rehabilitation Project, supported by a $100 million loan from the Bank and a grant of Euro 10 million from the European Union, will help China tackle severe erosion problems and improve farmer's livelihoods along the upper watersheds of the Changjiang and Pearl River, by modeling an integrated approach to watershed planning and management. The project will finance the construction of “stone-faced” terraces and sediment retention structures, afforestation and restoration of vegetation, and village infrastructure. It will also seek to improve the income of farmers through terracing of slope land, horticulture and fruit and nut trees, grasslands, livestock development, irrigation and drainage and renewable energy supply. Built on the Bank’s successful experience in watershed management, mostly notably the Loess Plateau Project in China, the project is expected to benefit poor farmers in 37 counties of eight prefectures or cities in Chongqing Municipality, and Guizhou, Hubei and Yunnan Provinces.
The Henan Towns Water Supply and Sanitation Project, supported by a $150 million loan from the Bank, will help improve water supply and wastewater management in 38 towns under 12 municipalities of Henan Province, through the construction of water production facilities, water distribution networks, wastewater collection pipes and wastewater treatment facilities. The project is one of the first major Bank projects targeted to support county towns’ efforts to cope with rapid urbanization -- a key development challenge given that around 70% of rural-urban migrants over the coming decade are expected to settle in towns rather than in big cities. The project will address issues of water scarcity, and will provide technical assistance for institutional development including regional planning for county town development, water sector regulations, and project management and utility staff training, thereby helping improve living conditions and the economic growth of participating county towns with relatively low incomes.
The Liaoning Medium Cities Infrastructure Project, financed by a World Bank loan of $218 million, will assist the project cities in Liaoning Province in enhancing the performance and quality of their existing urban transport infrastructure in terms of mobility, access, and safety. The project will include a focus on public transport and poverty reduction through assistance targeted at secondary roads, street lights, public transportation, cyclists and pedestrians, based on public involvement in project design. The project will also support institutional innovations in promoting traffic safety, in line with China’s new Road Safety Law. The project will cover the center cities of Panjin, Jinzhou, Fushun, Benxi, and Liaoyang municipalities, and the county town of Dengta in Liaoyang municipality. Through these activities, the project aims to improve the livability and investment climate in these cities, and support initiatives that reflect national and provincial priorities related to urban transport.
This is the first of a series of three projects including also an urban environment project and a heating project under preparation. The Bank has been Liaoning’s development partner for over fifteen years, and has provided around US$400 million for four urban infrastructure projects.
The China Third Jiangxi Highway Project, supported with a Bank loan of $200 million, aims to improve east-west passenger and freight flows in Jiangxi province by investing in the construction of an expressway, enhancing local roads, and strengthening highway management. The loan will finance the construction of Ruijin-Ganzhou Expressway, comprises a 117 km long section of the Xiamen-Chengdu expressway, which belongs to one of the east-west corridors of the National Trunk Highway System. It will help improve access in poor areas of the province by upgrading existing roads in poor condition. The project will also help strengthen the Jiangxi Provincial Communications Department in key areas such as traffic safety operations for tunnels, traffic safety improvement for expressways, and implementation of electronic toll collection.