Tibetan government in exile demands climate action in Tibet

Jayashree Nandi, TNN | November 29, 2015

NEW DELHI: Tibetan students, activists and the government in exile demanded “climate action” for Tibet on Sunday by holding a rally in the Capital. To send out a strong message to the global leaders who have gathered at the 21st United Nations Conference of Parties (COP) in Paris for an agreement to counter dangerous impacts of climate change, Tibetan organizations highlighted how India and China would face the consequences if Tibet’s ecology isn’t protected.

They performed a skit outside the UN Resident Coordinator’s Office in Delhi demanding immediate attention. “We performed a street theatre to demonstrate the very real water security issues downstream countries like India and Bangladesh will face if China continues its reckless hydropower projects on Tibet’s rivers,” said Jyotsna George, Campaigns Director, and Students for a Free Tibet-India. “The Tibetan people and Tibet’s fragile environment deserve a voice at the UN COP21 summit, and we want the UN to take urgent climate action for Tibet: Roof of the World”, she said.

The Tibetan government in exile is being represented by a delegation in Paris led by their information and international relations minister. Dhardon Sharling, member of parliament told TOI that they have been documenting the environmental degradation in Tibet through satellite images which show diminishing grasslands and excessive mining. “Tibet is Asia’s water tower. The massive number dams China is building on the rivers emerging from Tibet is going to be disastrous. They have no trans-boundary treaty either with downstream countries, only an MOU with India. I think India has woken up very late to the water sharing problem. We also know that two million Tibetan nomads have been displaced because grasslands are being occupied and destroyed,” she said. Sharling added that there is massive mining for lithium, gold, silver and copper in various parts of Tibet which is polluting water bodies. “We will be lobbying with countries downstream to assert pressure on China to be accountable for the ecological destruction. More importantly, we are lobbying with UK, US and Australia too for a fair agreement and accountability at COP21,” Sharling said.
In the last week Tibetan organizations have met “with political officers of the Embassies of Nepal, United States, Australia, the UN Information officer and with Jairam Ramesh, former environment minister, to stress the need for a multilateral forum of downstream countries to pressure China for responsible water usage and sharing” said a statement by the Tibetan organizations’ coalition.

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