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
“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.