BEIJING, April 18, 2008 – Yesterday the World Bank's Board of Executive Directors approved a grant of $5 million from the Special Climate Change Fund of the Global Environment Facility to the People's Republic of China to help adapt the country's water and agricultural sectors to climate change. The grant would be partially blended with the ongoing, Bank-financed Irrigated Agriculture Intensification III Project (IAIL3, IBRD Loan US$200 million) which would be modified to incorporate climate change adaptation.
The Mainstreaming Climate Change Adaptation in Irrigated Agriculture Project will focus on North China Plain consisting of six provinces in the Huang-Huai-Hai River Basins, with a population of 425 million. It is China's primary agricultural production region, accounting for about 50% of the total grain production. Agricultural production is heavily dependent on water for irrigation. However, the region's per capita water availability is only one third of the country's average. The available water resources are already fully allocated and often overexploited. Consequently the region is highly vulnerable to the impact of climate change. Higher temperature and higher crop evapotranspiration further aggravates the problem of water shortage.
"Under this project, we will work with the Government of China to pilot and mainstream adaptation measures in agricultural production and water resources management, for example, to explore and develop alternative water resources, adopt adaptation-oriented farming practice and technologies, promote adaptation-oriented irrigation and drainage design and water saving management," said project leader Li Qun, Senior Operations Officerfor the World Bank. " The goal is to reduce the vulnerability of farmers and rural communities to climate change."
The project will introduce and pilot climate change adaptation measures at demonstration sites, which would be integrated into IAIL3. Once proved successful, these measures are expected to be mainstreamed into the national comprehensive agricultural development program and replicated in other parts of the country.
The project will be carried out in six project provinces - Hebei, Henan, Shandong, Anhui, Jiangsu and Ningxia. The total project cost is $55.5 million, including cofinancing from the IAIL3 IBRD loan (US$20 million) and counterpart funding (US$30.5 million).