The Asian Development Bank (ADB) Resident Mission in Beijing said Tuesday that the ADB has agreed to provide 610,000 US dollars' worth of technical assistance to combat desertification in China's western areas, particularly Gansu Province.
An ADB spokesman said that desertification is a significant cause of environment deterioration in China's western areas. It destroys vegetation and farmland causing the decrease of agriculture output and biological resources, he said. It also increases the frequency of sandstorm, downstream flooding and erosion.
It is also a major cause of rural poverty, and almost 90 percent of China's rural poor live in areas suffering from soil erosion.
He said that the assistance, to be financed by ADB's Japan Special Fund, will include surveys of river basins containing oases under the threat of desertification.
The project will examine the impact of development policies and approaches to natural resources management, and will consult affected communities and other related groups and individuals to derive policy recommendations.
The project will assist Gansu Provincial Government to work out a comprehensive plan to prevent and check further desertification and promote the ecosystem construction in the Hexi Corridor.
The total cost of the technical assistance is US$ 765,000. Apart from US$610,000 from the ADB, Gansu Province will fund the balance. The project is scheduled for completion by February, 2002.
(China Daily 08/01/2001)