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World Bank projects to help China protect cultural heritage and environment

May 5, 2009

WASHINGTON/BEIJING, May 5, 2009 – Today the World Bank Board of Executive Directors approved two new loans to China, totaling US$150 million, to support the effort to increase income generation for the ethnic minority people while protecting cultural and natural heritage in Guizhou Province, and improve water resources management in Yunnan Province. Also approved was a Global Environment Facility (GEF) Grant of US$19.7 million to raise thermal power efficiency in Shanxi, Shandong and Guangdong Provinces.


The Guizhou Cultural and Natural Heritage Protection and Development Project, financed with a World Bank loan of US$60 million, is designed to enable Guizhou Province to better utilize and manage its rich cultural, natural and historical resources and improve the living standards of the local ethnic minority communities which account for 37 percent of its population. The range of activities supported through the project will include improvement of the basic community infrastructure, restoration of traditional buildings, expansion of tourist service facilities, protection of intangible heritage, and technical assistance for project implementation and tourism management. A community based development (CBD) approach will be adopted, involving the local communities in the planning, management and implementation of the programs.


The Yunnan Urban Environmental Project, financed with a World Bank loan of US$90 million, will build on the work of the earlier Yunnan Environment Project approved in 2005 which financed wastewater and solid waste systems in the province.  The new project will support construction and expansion of urban drainage, wastewater collection and treatment facilities, solid waste management systems, flood control and other sanitation facilities in some 10 county towns in Kunming, Lijiang and Wenshan.  

In addition, the new project targets at the largest lake in Yunnan province – Lake Dianchi which suffered deteriorating water quality since the 1980s. In order to reverse the worsening trends, the project will support development of “integrated lake basin management systems” for Lake Dianchi.   


The GEF-funded Thermal Power Efficiency Project will support closure of inefficient small-sized coal-fired power generation units, demonstrative projects for increasing power plant efficiency through measures such as conversion of mid-sized power generation only units into combined heat and power (CHP) units, waste heat recovery and utilization for district heating, and transition from current system dispatch practices to an efficient generation dispatch. The goal of the project is to reduce coal consumption and greenhouse gas emission per unit of electricity production in Shanxi, Shandong and Guangdong Provinces.  The project will support pilot programs and demonstration sub-projects in these provinces. 

“Heritage protection, environmental management and energy efficiency are all crucial to China’s sustainable development,” said Ede Ijjasz, World Bank Sector Manager for Sustainable Development in China. “The World Bank is proud to partner with China in its efforts to meet its ambitious goals for a more resource-efficient and less-polluting society. We expect these projects to bring important lessons for replication in China and other countries.”



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