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PRESS RELEASEMarch 29, 2024

Ecological Protection in China’s Yellow River Basin to be Enhanced with World Bank Support

WASHINGTON, March 29, 2024 — World Bank support approved today will help enhance management and protection of land and water resources and restoration of natural ecosystems in the Yellow River Basin, one of the most important natural environments in China and East Asia.

The river, the second longest in China, supports lives and livelihoods in nine northern provinces. It is also a critical biodiversity corridor in the East Asian-Australasian and Central Asian flyways of global migratory birds. The Yellow River Delta is home to hundreds of bird species and provides critical wintering, breeding, and stop-over sites for millions of domestic and migratory birds.

With financing totaling $300 million through the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), the Yellow River Basin Ecological Protection and Environmental Pollution Control Program (Gansu and Shandong) aims to support the protection of fragile loess ecosystems upstream in Gansu Province and river delta wetland ecosystems downstream in Shandong Province. The operation complements a World Bank-financed program approved in March 2022 that supports environmental protection and restoration in Henan and Shaanxi Provinces along the middle reaches of the Yellow River. Together, the two programs will support implementation of China’s Yellow River Protection Law and national strategy of promoting ecological protection and the high-quality development of the Yellow River Basin.

The program is an excellent example of how the World Bank’s support for China helps address some of today’s most pressing local and global challenges, particularly climate change and biodiversity loss,” said Mara Warwick, World Bank Country Director for China, Mongolia, and Korea. By adopting an integrated management approach for ecosystem protection in areas of water scarcity, and restoring degraded forests, wetlands, rivers and grasslands, the program will help China conserve valuable and fragile ecosystems and biodiversity of global importance in the Yellow River Basin at scale, generating local development benefits while contributing to global public goods.”

Water scarcity, unsustainable land use, the spread of invasive species, and climate-induced natural disasters have caused ecosystem degradation in the Yellow River Basin. The program will support implementation of sustainable land and water management practices, address soil erosion, water pollution, fire risks, and improve soil and water conservation. It will also contribute to restoration of wetlands, river and coastal areas, grasslands, forests, and support invasive species management.

In addition, the program will contribute to strengthening government capacity for ecosystem restoration and protection. To do so, it will help develop plans for integrated landscape management, pilot ecosystem health monitoring, improve female leadership in ecosystem protection, and bolster capacity among government officials, including at the provincial level. The program will further support establishment of biodiversity monitoring systems using advanced technologies in demonstration counties.  

Total financing for provincial government programs to be supported by this operation from 2024 to 2029 is expected to be $1.71 billion, of which the majority will come from China in the form of an expected $1.41 billion in funding from the Gansu and Shandong provincial governments.

The program is in line with the World Bank’s Country Partnership Framework (CPF) for China for FY2020 to 2025, which aims to help China address its development challenges, particularly in areas relating to global public goods, such as environmentally sustainable growth. The program contributes to the World Bank’s Global Challenge Program on Forest for Development, Climate and Biodiversity and Global Challenge Program on Water Security and Climate Adaptation.



Chen Tianshu
(86-10) 5861-7851
Mark Felsenthal
+1 (202) 602-9673


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