MANILA, PHILIPPINES (2 November 2021) — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $200 million loan to advance rural vitalization and ecological protection in Ganzhou municipality in Jiangxi, the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

The project aims to benefit more than 500,000 residents by improving the living environment of rural areas along the upper reaches of the Gan River, one of the major branches of the Yangtze River basin.

“Rural transformation has lagged urban development in the Yangtze River Economic Belt (YREB),” said ADB Principal Water Resources Specialist Mingyuan Fan. “The project will be the first under the YREB framework that will engage small and medium enterprises and agriculture cooperatives with a business interest in green development, rural vitalization, environmental management, and climate mitigation and adaptation, to be complemented by a green financing mechanism.”

The YREB is one of three key economic growth engines in the PRC. While the YREB has benefited from extensive development since the 1980s, growth in the middle and upper reaches of the Yangtze River basin lags that of the coastal areas.

To improve this, the project will expand the institutional capacity and know-how of the Ganzhou municipal government for managing the environment, natural resources, and projects with smart information technology applications.

This involves improving the monitoring of water quality within the Gan River watershed; developing an air quality management platform with technical support for analysis; and building the capacity for environmental protection, ecological rehabilitation, ecological and environmental monitoring, water and soil conservation, forest management, and project management.

The project will also pilot green development and financing mechanisms by installing water-saving irrigation systems and promoting the reduction of nutrient pollution in agricultural production. It will pilot a tracing system for organic products; develop a vegetable demonstration area that uses green farming technologies; and promote eco-friendly businesses, including village-based ecotourism infrastructure.

The project will also improve the living environment of residents by solving wastewater, sanitation, and solid waste problems in selected townships and administrative villages; this involves adopting low-energy treatment processes in rural wastewater treatment plants.

The total cost of the project is $453.91 million, with counterpart financing of $253.91 million from the government and others. It is expected to be completed in 2028.

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 68 members—49 from the region.

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