Pressure China to enter into appropriate water-sharing agreement

WhereFreeTibetOrgplateaumap_lg

c/o International Tibet Network
1310 Fillmore Street, #401
San Francisco,
CA 94115, USA

22 March 2013

To: Environment Ministers of the Governments of India, Pakistan, Cambodia, Laos, Bhutan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Burma, Thailand and Vietnam.
cc Mrs Irina Bokuva, Director General, UNESCO

Your Excellencies,

Today is World Water Day 2013 in the United Nations International Year of Water Cooperation. We are writing to share our concerns about the impact of China’s policies – especially its dam-building programme – on Asia’s regional water security, and to urge your government to join forces with other downstream nations to pressure China to enter into appropriate water-sharing agreements.

Over the last sixty years, China’s policies in Tibet, often called the earth’s “Third Pole” and the source of Asia’s great rivers, have led to widescale environmental degradation. This includes poisoned river and groundwater through unregulated mining, grasslands ecosystem degradation, and disrupted watershed and ecosystem services in the headwaters of these rivers, which has worsened already acute and chronic flooding downstream from Tibet, including your countries. In turn, global climate change is warming the Tibetan Plateau at twice the rate of the rest of the world, and the impact of this on Asia’s water supplies is exacerbated by China’s extensive dam-building programme, to harness hydro-power and divert water to mainland China. This programme threatens the safety, security, and sustainable livelihoods of more than one billion people downstream.

By claiming authority over the Water Tower of Asia, China is wielding considerable power over its neighbouring countries, yet it has not signed a single water sharing agreement. We urge you to act now to secure your future water supplies, by joining together with your counterparts in other nations downstream of the Tibetan plateau, and bring China to the negotiating table to sign appropriate regional and international water-sharing agreements.

Yours faithfully,

Ms Dhardon Sharling, Co Chair, on behalf of The International Tibet Network Secretariat, Tibetan Women’s Association and Tibet Justice Centre
dhardon@tibetnetwork.org

World Water Day

Exile Women observe United Nations World Water Day

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Exile Women observe United Nations World Water Day

World Water DayDharamsala, 22nd March: Today on ‘United Nations World Water Day,’ Women’s Environment & Development Desk (WEDD) of Tibetan Women’s Association (TWA) spearheaded a signature drive for the petition titled ‘Nomads for a Planetary Third Pole’ [1]at McLeod Ganj. WEDD received good response from people and gathered around 600 on-ground signatures in addition to online signatuers for the petition today.

WEDD also launched a ten-minute video titled ‘Expert Speak on Tibet’s Environment’ which can be viewed on TWA’s youtube channel; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rObIR2YFWA&list=UUv85TojsxxrNmbjAWse4S_A&index=1&feature=plcp. The video highlights the critical issue of Tibet’s Environment, covering pertinent topics such as climate change and glacier melt, Tibetan rivers, forced removal of nomads, and mining in Tibet. Experts discuss the failed Chinese Environmental policies, which are not only catastrophic for Tibet, but also for people of Southeast Asia.

WEDD believes that the right to clean drinking water is a fundamental human right granted under international law. According to findings, ‘there are approx. 1.3 billion people who are dependent on the health of the ten major rivers that originate from Tibet. These Tibetan water sources are being polluted through mining and highly restricted through damming, which results in unintended and often unpredicted flooding.’ In addition, ‘recent studies revealed that damming a river causes the water to evaporate, thereby reducing the quality and quantity of available water for those dependent on the source. Diminishing water levels are highly evident these days. Earlier this year, people of Pasighat town in East Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh found that the water level of the Brahmaputra River receded so much that it had nearly dried.’

“The crisis of our diminishing water resources is just as severe as any war time crisis we have ever faced. Survival of 1.3 billion is at stake now because of drying up of Tibet’s waters and the unchecked damming and China’s plans to divert the Brahmaputra of Tibet’s River” said Dolkar Lhamo Kirti, President, TWA.

Women’s Environment & Development Desk will carry forward ‘Protect Tibet’s Water for Asia’s Survival’ campaign throughout this year and at International UN Climate conferences.

The mission of the Women’s Environment & Development Desk (WEDD) of TWA is to raise awareness about the impacts of climate change upon Tibet’s unique ecosystem and Tibetan women. The WEDD is committed to disseminating timely and useful information that highlights to the international community the critical issue of climate change in Tibet. WEDD continues to engage in proactive measures and sustainable developmental projects and campaigns to combat the destructive environmental policies that are denying the human rights of Tibetans living inside Tibet.

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[1] One petition is addressed to the Environment Ministries of the Downstream Nations, which includes China, India, Pakistan, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal. All countries receive water from Tibet’s rivers: the Mekong, Yangtse, and Salween in the east, the Brahmaputra in the center, and the Kamali, Indus and Sutlej in the west. The second petition is addressed to the Environment Ministry of People’s Republic of China, and urges Chinese leadership to halt the forced eviction of nomads from the Tibetan plateau, thereby ensuring future food and water security for Asia.

Photos of today’s event can be viewed here.

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World Water Day

On World Water Day let’s raise our voice to protect Tibet’s water. Sign this petition & TAKE ACTION!

On 22nd March ‘World Water Day’, Women’s Environment and Development Desk (WEDD) of Tibetan Women’s Association is running a petition drive titled ‘Nomads for Planetary Third Pole’ which was successfully launched at the Buddhist Kalachakra teaching in Bodh Gaya. 3500+ signatures were gathered at Bodhgaya which is also available online. One petition is addressed to the Environment Ministries of the ten downstream nations excluding China. These are ten countries in Asia namely: China, India, Pakistan, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal all receive water from Tibet’s rivers. These are the Mekong, Yangtse and Salween in the east, Brahmaputra in the center, and Kamali, Indus and Sutlej in the west. The second petition is addressed to the Environment Ministry of People’s Republic of China. The petition urges the Chinese leadership to halt the forced eviction of nomads from the Tibetan plateau and thereby ensure the future food and water security of Asia.

WEDD is also launching an online video titled ‘Experts Speak on Tibet’s Environment’ which will be available on our website and YouTube on the World Water Day.

If you are in Dharamsala, India, please join us for the below event to protect Tibet’s waters!

Venue: Main temple gate and Main square, Mcleod Ganj
Time: 9am to 5pm

World Water Day

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