Johannesburg, South Africa – A 20-member Tibetan delegation comprised of Tibetans and non-Tibetans has arrived in South Africa to attend the UN World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) and related events such as the Global People’s Forum (NGO Forum).

Mr. Jampal Chosang, Representative of H. H. the Dalai Lama in South Africa, the head of the Tibetan Delegation said: “We are attending this important UN meeting to urge the international community to pay adequate and urgent attention to environment and development issues confronting Chinese-occupied Tibet. We are definitely not here to engage in ‘Anti-China’ activities as the People’s Republic of China may term our participation.”

At the Summit, the Tibetan Delegation plans to engage in many activities which have been planned during the past two years with the support of local and international non-governmental organizations. These activities will include a Tibet Briefing and panel discussions on Foreign Occupation, Self-determination and Sustainable Development, Environment and Development Issues in Tibet and Transboundary Waters and Human Security.

Another highlight of the Tibetan participation at this major UN conference will be the testimonies by two members of the Tibetan delegation at the World Sustainable Hearing’s Day of Poverty, Labor and Human Rights which will be held on August 29 . Most of these events will take place at Nasrec Hall, which is the venue of the NGO Forum which began on August 23.

During the three preparatory meetings of this UN Summit, the People’s Republic of China used a procedural motion known as “no-action” to block participation by three Tibetan NGOs, including ICT, who applied for accreditation to the governmental meeting. However, members of the Tibetan delegation received the support of NGOs who accredited them as their representatives to the Johannesburg Summit. This kind of support will allow the members of the Tibetan delegation to follow the proceedings of the governmental meeting of the Summit and also lobby languages in the official declaration that governments will adopt when the Summit ends on September 4.

The Tibetan Government in Exile will release a series of new reports on environment and development issues in Tibet in order to highlight the current issues of relevance to the WSSD agenda.

A report called “Speaking for Tibet at the UN WSSD: A Show Report” examines the evidence of China’s investment in food, security measures, the alleviation of poverty, health programs, education, sustainable livelihood, and the delivery of basic human services in Eastern Turkistan, Inner Mongolia and Tibet.

Tibet Justice Center will release a report titled: “Tibet: Current Environment and Development Issues 2002” while the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy will release a report on land and housing rights in Tibet called, “Dispossessed.”

The Tibetan delegation’s participation at the Global People’s Forum will begin with the construction of Cherezig Sand Mandala at the Tibet Information Stand at Nasrec Hall by four monks from Nechung Monastery, the monastery of the State Oracle of Tibet.

During the past week, the monks have attracted a lot of attention and support from the people of Johannesburg who were able to view the construction of the Sand Mandala at Killerney Shopping Centre in the centre of the city. This is the first time that Tibetan monks have come to South Africa to show the art of sand mandala creation.

The Tibetan delegation to this UN Summit comprises of officials of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile, four monks of Nechung Monastery, and representatives of Tibetan organizations, the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, the International Campaign for Tibet and Tibet Justice Centre, a Tibetan student from the United States and Mr. Gabriel Lafitte from Australia, who is an expert on environmental and development issues in Tibet.