BEIJING, PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA (20 September 2017) — The Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Board of Directors has approved a $150 million loan to help the Guizhou provincial government reduce its rocky desertification areas and improve people’s livelihoods through water resources conservation as well as environment and ecology restoration.

Rocky desertification — characterized by vegetation degradation, soil erosion, and bedrock exposure — is one of the most serious land degradation problems in the southwest region of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). It has worsened by local people’s unsustainable land use, and Guizhou, where 25.2% of the country’s rocky desertification occur, has been affected the most. It is also the poorest province in the PRC, with gross domestic product per capita just above half (56.7%) of the national average.

“Rocky desertification is hurting people’s livelihoods, because it reduces land productivity and food security, while also increasing the likelihood of natural disasters and challenging environmental sustainability,” said Yoshiaki Kobayashi, Principal Water Resources Specialist at ADB’s East Asia Department. “The project will complement the efforts done by the government since 2008 to reverse the trend of rocky desertification and improve people’s economic opportunities and quality of life.”

The Rocky Desertification Area Water Management Project will improve water resources conservation in Guizhou through the construction of two reservoirs in Anlong and Nayong counties and related water transfer facilities. It will also set up eco-compensation mechanisms to protect water quality in the reservoirs. Both reservoirs are expected to provide 46.98 million cubic meters of water for irrigation and 44.71 million cubic meters of water for domestic use every year.

The project will also demonstrate rocky desertification management in Guizhou, including efforts to reclaim affected areas through revegetation and help farmers transition from unsustainable farming — which is the main cause of rocky desertification — to sustainable farming through training and capacity development.

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, ADB is celebrating 50 years of development partnership in the region. It is owned by 67 members—48 from the region. In 2016, ADB assistance totaled $31.7 billion, including $14 billion in cofinancing.

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