MANILA, PHILIPPINES (13 December 2018) — A new project in Ziyang Municipality in Sichuan Province in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) will demonstrate for the first time how medium-sized cities in the middle and upper reaches of the Yangtze River can tackle ecological and green growth challenges. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) today approved a $200 million loan for the Sichuan Ziyang Inclusive Green Development Project.

Sichuan is one of nine provinces and two specially administered municipalities in the Yangtze River Economic Belt area that has been a key engine of the PRC’s economic growth in recent decades. The area also provides about 40% of the PRC’s fresh water. However, environmental degradation is undermining the quality of life for people in the middle and upper sections of the Yangtze River area and holding back economic growth.

“The project’s mix of ecological, economic, and urban planning activities will encourage investment and new jobs and make Ziyang into a much better place to live,” said ADB Senior Water Resources Specialist Mr. Mingyuan Fan. “Most importantly, it will showcase a way forward for other towns and cities looking to secure a sustainable, green future.”

Ziyang is a typical medium-sized municipality with a population of around 3.6 million. Heavy industry has brought some economic growth but has been a prime cause of severe pollution in nearby lakes and the local river. The economy also needs to shift to more environmentally friendly sectors, such as light industry and services, that can provide more jobs over the long term.  

The project’s ecological features will include building flood control embankments, interventions to capture stormwater and, for the first time for ADB, turning a polluted landfill into a park. Efforts to support new sources of growth include setting up a research and development center for light industries and a vocational training center to help local people acquire the necessary skills to work in those sectors. The project will help the municipality to improve its urban development planning and management.

The total cost of the project, which is expected to be completed by mid-2025, is $413.54 million, with the PRC government providing $213.54 million.

The project is part of ADB’s Yangtze River Economic Belt Framework which will provide $2 billion in targeted, integrated, and high impact investments over 2018–2020 in the upper and middle reaches of the Yangtze River. The ADB framework supports the Government of the PRC’s Yangtze River Economic Belt development plan that prioritizes ecological protection and green development in the area.

ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members—48 from the region. In 2017, ADB operations totaled $32.2 billion, including $11.9 billion in cofinancing.

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