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1762Brussels – The European Parliament's Tibet Inter-group will be holding its 97th meeting by hosting a conference on the state of Tibet's environment. The conference will be held at the European Parliament, Room ASP 3H1, Brussels, on Wednesday June, 19, 2013.

The conference, hosted by MEPs Satu Hassi (Greens), Thomas Mann (EPP) and Lidia Joanna Geringer de Oedenberg (S&D), is jointly organized by the Office of Tibet in Brussels, the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) and the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO).

'This conference will be the occasion for all to discover the multiple facets of Tibet's struggle against the degradation of its land, air and water,' the organisers said in a statement issued on June 11, 2013.

Covering almost 2% of the earth's land, Tibet has long been regarded by its indigenous population as a rich source of natural elements. Its fertile grasslands, glaciers, rivers and minerals have allowed generations to survive in a region often referred to as "the rooftop of the world" for its altitude.

Over the past decades, and at an increasingly alarming rate, Tibet's landscape has changed due to man's presence and China's enthusiasm to cash in on Tibet's outstanding resources.

Tibet's environment subsequently suffered from severe setbacks, all of which affect not only Tibet, but the whole of South East Asia – and eventually the world. With its glaciers melting fast, water resources in Tibet have become deregulated. An important source of fresh water for over 10 countries, Tibet's glaciers run a high risk of disappearing within a couple decades.

Permafrost layers found at high altitudes are busy melting as the earth's temperature rises, feeding a vicious cycle as carbon exposed through this melting will in turn exacerbate the earth's warming. Extractive industries, such as gold or copper mining, as well as deforestation have left gaping holes in Tibet's already fragile landscape. Unfortunately, these are but the tip of the iceberg for Tibet and its inhabitants.

The keynote speaker will be Mr Tenzin Norbu, Director of the Environment and Development Desk of the Central Tibetan Administration. A short documentary screening will follow, after which a question and answer session will allow for further debate.

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