PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2015, Vol. 34 ›› Issue (11): 1377-1387.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2015.11.005

• Orientation and Strategy • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Institutions and mechanisms for developing the Yangtze River Economic Belt

Xuejun DUAN1,2(), Hui ZOU1,3, Lei WANG1,2   

  1. 1. Nanjing Institute of Geography and Limnology, CAS, Nanjing 210008, China
    2. Key Laboratory of Watershed Geographic Sciences, Nanjing Institute of Geography and Limnology, CAS, Nanjing 210008, China
    3. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Online:2015-11-25 Published:2015-11-25


With the recent government policy stipulating the development of the Yangtze River Economic Belt (YREB) as a national development strategy, sound regional institutions and mechanisms are urgently needed to ensure the development of this territorially vast and internally highly differentiated region. This article analyzes the successful experiences of developing and managing great river basins around the world and reviews the evolving institutions and mechanisms of the Yangtze River Economic Belt development and governance, and then identifies problems and some countermeasures to sustain the strategy of developing the Yangtze Economic Belt. Innovation of institutions and mechanisms is analyzed with respect to comprehensive research and development planning, regional coordination mechanism, comprehensive river basin management, and the system of laws and regulations. Currently, some central ministries and local governments have explored various innovations on institutions and mechanisms to promote regional integrated development along the Yangtze River, such as cross-river industrial parks and enclave economy construction and development, port coordination, and integration of customs clearance, among others. However, based on the result of the comparative analysis between international experiences and the local development, this study found that there exist some current problems in developing sound institutions and mechanisms for the management of the Yangtze River Economic Belt. These include the lack of a comprehensive government institution and systematic policy to support integrated management, low degree of coordination between governmental departments and territory-based administrations in watershed management, less developed regional integrated market system due to administrative barriers, as well as the lack of comprehensive laws and regulations to guarantee the sustainable development of the Yangtze River Economic Belt. Accordingly, the article proposes five policy recommendations to support the future development of the YREB: (1) establish a cross-sectoral administrative committee and formulate a systematic regional policy for integrated watershed management; (2) establish multi-level coordination platforms and institutions for promoting regional consultation; (3) break administrative barriers for establishing a regional integrated market system; (4) explore diversified ecological compensation methods to promote the establishment of compensation mechanisms between the upstream and downstream regions; and (5) legislate a Yangtze River integrated management law and improve the relevant legal system for sustainable development.

Key words: institution and mechanism, great river basin, international experience, policy recommendation, Yangtze River Economic Belt (YREB)