|Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy
Yunnan, one of the 12 less-developed municipality, provinces and autonomous regions targeted under the PRC's Western Development Strategy, is landlocked, mountainous, and hilly. Sharing 4,060 kilometers of border with the Lao People's Democratic Republic, Myanmar and Viet Nam, its location provides it with a particular geographical advantage of emerging as an important national transport and trade gateway for the western inland PRC to connect with the neighboring countries of the GMS. Because of this, Yunnan is endowed with an opportunity to support the PRC's greater geographical balance in social and economic development across the country. Since 2001, it has added 55,099 km of national roads and highways to expand the transportation links within Yunnan as well as with those neighboring GMS countries. Despite its development potential, Yunnan's economy has grown more slowly than those of the other Western inland provinces and autonomous regions. The provincial per capita gross domestic product in 2012 was $3,505, only 58% of the PRC average of $6,093. Although the provincial capital of Kunming is strategically located at the junction of three major GMS transport corridors, Yunnan's share in the PRC's trade with the other GMS countries declined steadily from 20% to 16% during 2001 2012.
A key constraint on Yunnan's socioeconomic growth and economic integration into the GMS is its low urbanization rate and the poor competitiveness of its second- and third-tier cities. Despite rapid development in the capital city of Kunming, many of the province's small and medium-sized cities suffer from inadequate basic infrastructure and remain isolated economically. Under its 12th five-year plan covering 2011 2015, Yunnan aims to stimulate its socioeconomic growth by developing clusters of cities with a variety of industries and commercial activities to create economic growth poles. Yunnan needs a strong support to develop economically and commercially competitive second- and third-tier cities and their city clusters to transform the regional transport corridors already established through the province'srapid highway expansion program into corridors of economic development.
The three project cities are key centers of the Chuxiong Yi autonomous prefecture, which lies 165 km west of Kunming. The prefecture is especially important to government efforts to (i) strengthen socioeconomic links between Kunming and the surrounding small and medium-sized cities and thereby enhance the overall economic competitiveness of the central Yunnan city cluster, and (ii) promote regional economic cooperation between Yunnan and the other GMS countries, since the prefecture is a western gateway to Myanmar. However, urban expansion has been limited in the three cities by their predominantly hilly and mountainous terrain. Like other small and medium-sized centers in the province, living conditions and their business and investment environments have been degraded by inadequate flood management and poor sanitation services. Their weak urban infrastructure is holding back not only socioeconomic development for their residents but also wider regional economic integration across the province.
The Yunnan Chuxiong Urban Environment Improvement Project will provide Asian Development Bank (ADB) lending for second- and third-tier city development of the province through various new approaches. It will include measures to address the frequent flooding in three cities and their surrounding agricultural lands that currently restricts their city expansion and economic development. Although the PRC generally relies heavily on engineering measures to contain flooding, the project will adopt an ecologically sound, climate resilient design that will balance engineering measures with river ecosystem conservation and the enhancement of public amenities. Based on international good practice, it will also introduce the use of storm water detention ponds in Yunnan to mitigate downstream impacts and pollution from storm water runoff. The poor sanitation in the project cities results from their inability to handle the growing amounts of solid waste and their inadequate sewage pipeline networks. The project will help each city develop comprehensive solid waste management plans and will raise public awareness of the need to reduce, reuse, and recycle waste. The project will also demonstrate how construction of city roads with added functions of harvesting rainwater and intercepting sewage from surrounding villages can improve the city environment. The roads will also be equipped with energy-saving streetlights. The project will strongly encourage the public to participate in river landscaping and city planning to reflect public priorities.
The project is in line with ADB's country partnership strategy, 2011 2015 for the PRC. It aligns with ADB's water operational plan by incorporating socially inclusive and integrated water resource management principles. It is also in line with the aims of ADB's urban operational plan to enhance the competitiveness and livability of cities through urban development.11 By promoting sustainable urbanization and a better balance in the currently uneven growth and development of the PRC's regions, the project also supports the PRC's 12th Five-Year Plan,2011 2015 for national economic and social development, as well as related provincial, prefecture, and municipal plans. The project will contribute to Yunnan's sustainable development strategy for 2008 2020, particularly its goal of promoting urban environmental management and expanding environmental infrastructure.