US Congressional Commission Hears Testimony on Tibet’s Water and Environment


January 27, 2012 12:33 pm

DHARAMSHALA: The United States-China Economic and Security Review Commission, a congressional commission of the United States government, will hear Thursday (26 January) a written testimony on Water Security and Environmental Management on the Tibetan Plateau submitted by the Central Tibetan Administration.

The testimony, prepared by the CTA’s Environment and Development Desk, raises pressing issues such as climate change in Tibet and impacts in Asia, damming of Tibetan rivers, Tibetan plateau and the Asian monsoon pattern, grassland management and nomad resettlement among others.

“The Tibetan Plateau is the land bridge connecting South Asia with East Asia. The very survival of almost 1.3 billion people depends on the water resources originating from the Tibetan Plateau. The impact on Tibet’s landscape and its natural resources due to climate warming and human intervention will threaten not only the future food security of many nations but also their development,” the testimony noted.

Seeking support from the US government to address the problems of warming on the Tibetan Plateau, the CTA submitted a set of recommendations to the commission.
        
“The US government, in collaboration with private and academic institutions, should partner with Chinese and international scientific institutions to monitor glacial retreat, temperature rise and carbon levels on the Tibetan Plateau, with a goal of creating better models to understand warming trends and the resultant impacts on permafrost, river flows, grasslands and desertification, and the monsoon cycle,” the testimony noted.
        
“The US should engage with the Chinese government and NGOs to encourage a systematic re-thinking of policies related to grassland management and nomad resettlement. Changes in the ecosystem of the Tibetan Plateau will require sound mitigation policies and on-the-ground stewardship, which must include the integral participation of Tibetan stakeholders, primarily the nomads and their indigenous experience in managing this land for centuries.
        
“The US should promote creation of a regional framework on water security. Such a structure would facilitate cooperative agreements among all riparian neighbors that would promote transparency, sharing of information, pollution regulation, and arrangements on impounding and diversion of river water. The US, which is already involved in a similar role with the Lower Mekong Initiative, could cite this initiative as a model or a starting point for further regional cooperation,” it noted.

Created through a congressional mandate in October 2000, the United States-China Economic and Secutiry Review Commission is responsible for monitoring and investigating national security and trade issues between the United States and People’s Republic of China. The Commission holds regular hearings and roundtables, produces an annual report on its findings, and provides recommendations to Congress on legislative actions related to China.

(Click here for full testimony)