ADB President Assures PRC Vice Premier of Strong Support for Reforms, Environment, and Poverty Reduction

BEIJING, PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA  During a three-day visit to People’s Republic of China (PRC), Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Takehiko Nakao expressed appreciation for the PRC’s reform vision announced last month and assured Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli of ADB’s strong support for reforms and efforts to address environment and poverty.

“I was impressed by the comprehensiveness of the decisions of the recent Third Plenum of the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China,” Mr. Nakao said. “As we look closely at the scope and implications of the seemingly rather simple policy statement to give market the ‘decisive role,’ we realize that the successful implementation of the forthcoming reforms can indeed bring the PRC to a new era in its socioeconomic development.”

Mr. Nakao noted that strengthening markets and widening the role of the private sector does not mean a weakening of government. In fact, a capable and efficient government is crucial for the efficient functioning of markets.

The state needs to continue to play a key role in addressing issues like pollution and climate change, and encouraging greater use of alternative energy sources and more efficient use of natural resources. In addition, the state needs to address poverty and widening inequality as the country continues to grow.

Mr. Nakao also met ADB Governor and Minister of Finance Lou Jiwei, and Head of the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development Liu Yongfu, and discussed the PRC’s ongoing socioeconomic transformation and key challenges.

Discussions with the senior leaders of the government focused on how ADB can help the formulation and implementation of the 13th Five Year Plan most effectively. Public finance including reforms of the taxes and the delineation of the roles of the central and local governments is recognized as one of the key areas.

Mr. Nakao signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) addressing climate change with National Development and Reform Commission Vice Chairman Xie Zhenhua. Another MoU was signed with Environmental Protection Minister Zhou Shengxia to promote initiatives for green and sustainable growth.

Over the next five years, ADB’s support for the PRC will include a strong focus on addressing climate change and green growth, including the development of low-carbon economic zones, energy efficiency improvement, clean coal technologies and the piloting of emissions trading schemes. Furthermore, ADB will help environmental protection in the PRC in the areas of controlling air, water, and soil pollution; sustainable management of wetland, rivers, and forests; prevention of land degradation; and biodiversity conservation. ADB will help promote innovation in these areas.

At the same time, ADB will continue to support the PRC’s efforts to address remaining poverty and widening inequalities. ADB will help address rural poverty with productivity increase in agriculture, access to financial services and infrastructure development. It is also essential to address urban poverty with the provision of minimum social services, particularly education and health.

ADB will continue to strengthen its knowledge support to the PRC through the sharing of lessons of other countries. In the context of South-South cooperation, ADB will also help the PRC share its development experiences with other countries in Asia and the Pacific.

Since 1986, ADB has provided $28 billion of development assistance to the PRC. Under its Country Operations Business Plan, ADB envisages providing $4.13 billion in loans in the 2014-2016 period covering natural resources and agriculture, energy, transport, and urban and social sectors.

ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members – 48 from the region.