CTAPublished online June 20, 2013 by the Central Tibetan Administration.
View on www.tibet.net here.

Tibet Intergroup

MEPs, Mr Thomas Mann (c) and Mr Csaba Sogor, (3rd left) at the seminar along with ICT’s Vincent Metten (right).

BRUSSELS: The offices of MEPs Satu Hassi (Greens), Thomas Mann (EPP) and Lidia Joanna Geringer de Oedenberg (S&D) of the Tibet Intergroup of the European Parliament, the Office of Tibet, Brussels, the International Campaign for Tibet and the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) jointly organised a seminar at the European Parliament on the state of Tibet’s environment on 19 June. Mixing politics, human rights and environmental sciences, this hearing was the occasion for all to discover the multiple facets of Tibet’s struggle against the degradation of its land, air and water.

Keynote speaker, Mr Tenzin Norbu, head of the Environment and Development Desk of the Central Tibetan Administration, gave a presentation focused on resource exploitation, nomads and climate change. Introducing the “third pole” concept, he stressed that Tibet is currently the largest reservoir of fresh water in the world due to its glaciers, permafrost and rivers. However, these resources are in danger of disappearing fast due to over-exploitation of minerals and forests on the Tibetan plateau. Combined with climate change, these activities have a strong impact on flood risks and the timing of the monsoon season on which billions in South East Asia depend for agriculture. He also spoke on the Chinese government policy of removing pastoral nomads of Tibet from their traditional habitat in large numbers and the negative impacts it brings on their way of life and the ecology of the vast grasslands they inhabit. As a traditionally self-sufficient people, their livelihood is in jeopardy and dependence on the state threatens their survival.

The screening of a short documentary, “Nomad to Nobody”, by Michael Buckley (2011), showed telling images in support of Mr Norbu’s environmental concerns. The film is based on images and interviews that the director was able to gather from within and outside Tibet, which had a rare look into the life of Tibetan nomads.

MEPs, Satu Hassi and Thomas Mann, both stressed the importance of holding such an event in the Parliament, resolutely breaking the silence imposed by the Chinese authorities on Tibetan issues, and have pledged to continue their cross-party support for Tibet.

Mr Thomas Mann also proposed to campaign for awarding 2013 Sakhrov Prize to Tibetan activist and writer, Tsering Woeser.

The seminar was attended by more than 60 people including MEPs, their assistants, journalists, Tibet Support Groups and officials from the European commission.