Paulson Institute Leads Delegation Studying River Protection, Economic Development

The importance of integrating agriculture, local economic development, and environmental protection was the key message World Bank officials gave to a delegation from China’s national and provincial macroplanning commissions visiting Washington, DC as part of a study tour organized by Paulson Institute.

Led by Ren Shubin, Director General, Environmental Resources Department, National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the 13-member delegation is researching lessons learned from US experiences in river basin management, looking at examples of economic development while controlling and preventing soil and water pollution in the Chesapeake Bay and Mississippi River basin. The delegation is composed of representatives from the departments of Environmental Resources, Basic Industries, and International Cooperation, and Macroeconomic Research Institute under NDRC; the development and reform commissions from Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Hubei, Hunan, Chongqing and Guizhou; and China International Engineering Consulting Corporation.

Experts from the World Bank’s Environment and Natural Resources Global Practice and Agriculture Global Practice also encouraged the delegation to apply best practices from past efforts to prevent and control atmospheric pollution in China – such as collecting and publicizing relevant data – to the new emphasis on tackling water and soil pollution. China’s legislature passed a new law in August 2018 to fight soil pollution.

The delegation met with experts and visited multiple sites and farms along the Chesapeake Bay and Mississippi River, discussing topics such as science-based river basin management and policy-making mechanisms; non-point source pollution control; market-based mechanisms for river basin pollution prevention; water quality trading, and precision eco-agriculture.

China’s central government has recently prioritized the integration of environmental protection and economic development in the Yangtze River basin. The study tour is one outcome of Paulson Institute’s Yangtze River project with NDRC that seeks to draw on international experience to address the complex challenges of economic development and environmental protection within the Yangtze River basin.