The World Bank, EU and China, in a first-ever cooperative effort, have announced a loan and financial aid program to curb environmental degradation in China's central and southwestern provinces. The US$200-million program was launched on Wednesday in Wuhan, Hubei Province.
A total of 37 counties in Yunnan, Guizhou, Hubei and Chongqing, drainage areas of China's longest river, the Yangtze, and the Pearl River, are expected to benefit from the US$200-million program, according to Zhai Haohui, Vice Minister of Water Resources.
Zhai said half of the fund money is provided by the World Bank in the form of a loan to the beneficiary areas, while the other half comprises grant-in-aid from the EU, and an investment by the Chinese government.
The program, to run for six years, will focus on water and soil conservation.
About 3.56 million square kilometers of China's territory, or 37 percent of its total area, is affected by erosion.
(Xinhua News Agency September 28, 2006)