Brussels: On 19 June 2013, In order to discuss the current state of Tibetan ecological crisis, a seminar was jointly organised at the European Parliament by 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).
Furthermore, the political suppression, violation of human rights of the Tibetans at the hands of the Chinese government and several other issues pertaining to the situation in Tibet were addressed.
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.
Michael Buckley's "Nomad to Nobody"(2011) a short documentary focusing on the central ideas of Mr Norbu's environmental concerns was screened. The film, a collection of interviews and images, gives a rare look into the life of Tibetan nomads around the boundaries of Tibet.
The authorities present stressed on the need for urgent action against the Chinese repressive rule in Tibet. MEPs, Satu Hassi and Thomas Mann appealed for the same 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.