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Raising Development Impact through Evaluation

People’s Republic of China: Beijing–Tianjin–Hebei Air Quality Improvement– Hebei Policy Reforms Program

Evaluation Document | 25 July 2019

In 2014, seven of the 10 cities with the worst air quality in the People's Republic of China were located in Hebei. Among the pollutants, the levels of particulate matter less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter (PM2.5) drastically exceeded the air quality standard established by the World Health Organization by a factor of 9.3. In 2010, the socioeconomic impact of the poor air quality in the PRC was estimated at 1.3 million premature deaths per year and a reduction of the national gross domestic product in the range of 9.7%–13.2%. Thus, the deterioration of air quality was impeding sustainable economic growth in the region.

The central government introduced policy measures—raised national air quality standards in 2012 to a level equivalent to most developed countries and issued a new environmental protection law in 2015. In parallel, the Beijing–Tianjin–Hebei governments formulated their own plans for air pollution prevention and control for 2013–2017. The 5-year Hebei Clean Air Action Plan (HCAAP) aimed to reduce the PM2.5 concentration to 25% by 2017 from the 2012 level—by reducing the steel, cement, and glass production capacity; and coal consumption substantially.

The funding for the HCAAP program during 2013–2017 was $12.4 billion, which accounts for 78% of Hebei’s annual fiscal revenue. To finance these costs, the Hebei Provincial Government (HPG) reached out to ADB and Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW), and the World Bank.

This report validates the completion report's assessment of the program. IED overall assessment: Successful.