The Tibetan Government-in-Exile has urged international aid agencies to come up with a mechanism that will ensure that Tibetans are real beneficiaries from aid projects in Tibet.
Reacting to the Chinese announcement at a seminar in Beijing that Tibet received $ 90 million foreign grants in the past 20 years, Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche, Chairman of the Tibetan Cabinet, said in a statement on June 29, 2002, “While we welcome the fact that a large foreign aid has been given to Tibet in the last twenty years, we urge the international community and the donor agencies to develop stricter mechanisms to ensure that the real beneficiaries are the Tibetan people themselves.”
During the Beijing Seminar some international agencies voiced the feeling that Tibetans were not totally involved in projects planned in Tibetan areas.
“There is legitimate concern among Tibetans that foreign investment and aid is being used by the Chinese authorities to increase repression and control over the Tibetan people,” the Tibetan leader said.
Rinpoche urged the donor agencies to actively consult the Tibetan people and use the grants as suggested by the Tibetans themselves. He welcomed the UNDP statement at the Beijing seminar that a major guarantee for the success of any development is the active participation and capacity building of the local population.
The Tibetan leader said that China’s policies seem to be geared towards increasing the urbanization of Tibet. He said China’s ongoing railway construction linking Lhasa to the major cities in China and its failed attempt to solicit World Bank funding for the resettlement of about 60,000 non Tibetans on the Tibetan region of Tulan are clear evidence that China treats the development of Tibet as a means to increase its control of Tibet and to exploit its vast resources.
The Tibetan leader asked the donor agencies not to finance large-scale projects that undermine Tibetan culture and serve Chinese strategic purpose. He urged that they consider guidelines that the Tibetan leadership in exile had formulated for international development projects and sustainable development in Tibet.
The guidelines recommend that every project must be geared towards increasing the Tibetan people’s ability to maintain their culture and must be based on respect for the Tibetan people’s traditional wisdom regarding their landscape and their survival techniques. The guidelines can be obtained by visiting www.tibet.net.