World Bank flags environment in new plan for China
Updated: 2006-05-24 07:35
The World Bank unveiled an ambitious plan of lending to China that highlights
environmental destruction and social inequality as "critical" challenges for the
The plan envisages annual assistance of 1.5 billion dollars for the next five
years, making China the global lender's biggest aid recipient along with India.
Skyscrapers rise above
Beijing as the morning sun rises. The World Bank unveiled an ambitious
plan of lending to China that highlights environmental destruction and
social inequality as "critical" challenges for the booming nation.
The money would be devoted largely to the inland provinces that have lagged
the breakneck growth enjoyed by coastal cities, in accordance with Beijing's own
plan to spread the boom more widely.
"The new 'Country Partnership Strategy' recognises clearly that helping China
to strengthen its economy, manage its resources and environment, and improve
governance, are important not only for the Chinese people but also for people
all over the world," World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz said.
Despite its startling progress of the past two decades, China still has more
than 135 million people surviving on less than a dollar a day.
Many observers say that without a fairer distribution of income, and a
serious effort to protect the fast-degrading environment of its cities, China
risks losing some of its gains.
David Dollar, the World Bank's country director for China, said that with 10
million people leaving the countryside every year to hunt for work in the big
cities, the pressure on strained urban infrastructure is intensifying.
"City life is much more energy-intensive," he told reporters. "It raises
whole new environmental issues. So urban management is a critical issue for