At present I am in Geneva, attending the ongoing UN 15th Human Rights Session. During the session there was a side program and Mr. Tenzin Norbu, Head of the Environment and Development Desk under DIIR/CTA Dharamsala, gave a detailed account of the environmental concerns on the Tibetan Plateau and how these impacts are creating problems not only for the six million local residents but also for the 1.4 billion downstream population.
This UN side event was organised by Society for Threatened Peoples, an ECOSOC accredited NGO. Amongst the other 40-50 participants, there were representatives from Czech Republic, USA, Switzerland, EU, Belgium and some international NGOs.
The event was moderated by Dr. Charles Graves (Secretary General of Interfaith International). Dr. Graves welcomed the audience and introduced Tenzin Norbu. After his brief introductory remarks, Mr. Norbu spoke about the impacts of climate change on the Tibetan Plateau. During the 45 minute presentation, he stressed mainly these following issues:
- Glacial retreat on the Tibetan Plateau,
- Waters originating from the Tibetan Plateau and the damming issue
- Permafrost degradation/melting on the Tibetan Plateau and its global impacts
- Nomad removal from their ancestral pastoral grounds to concrete blocks.
Later during the Q&A session, Tenzin Norbu explained further about the ongoing mining activities on the Tibetan Plateau and its immediate effect to the local residents citing examples of recent mining protest by local residents.
The event was concluded by a screening of the documentary “Meltdown in Tibet”.
Here are some photos of the event: