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Revised Guidelines for Development in Tibet
TibetNet[Thursday, April 15, 2004 00:48]
Revised Guidelines for Development in Tibet, Tibetans urge for culture-sensitive and needs-based development in Tibet

Secretary Thubten Samphel and Joint Secretary Lobsang Galak at the launch of the booklet
Secretary Thubten Samphel and Joint Secretary Lobsang Galak at the launch of the booklet
Dharamsala, April 14 - The recent resumption of direct contact between the representatives of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the People’s Republic of China is encouraging; and it is hoped that this will lead to negotiations in order to resolve the question of Tibet in the best interest of the Tibetan and Chinese peoples. In the meantime, the Central Tibetan Administration believes that it is vitally important for development agencies, NGOs and corporations who intend to become involved in Tibet to understand how their activities may benefit or harm Tibetans in today’s complex situation.

Development in Tibet is welcome and much-needed; and Tibet should not be off-limits or beyond the reach of the global community of environment and development organizations. But development is only welcome if it benefits Tibetans themselves.

Like many countries around the world, China faces challenges in controlling environmental degradation as well as maintaining an equitable economic development. Official statistics and reports in China reveal that some parts of Tibet continue to undergo severe environmental damage, and that human development in Tibet lags behind almost all provinces in China. Growing income disparities between eastern and western China, and rural and urban China, are regarded by some economists as inevitable side effects when an economy is developing rapidly.

In the case of Tibet, this income disparity is more striking due to the fact that rural Tibet is predominantly Tibetan, and there is strong evidence of social exclusion and increasing marginalisation of the majority of Tibetans in the present economic boom. Since the 1950s, one common assumption among the state planners and economists in China about Tibet’s economy has been “poor quality of human resources”. After 50 years it is striking that human development in Tibet is still dismal and Tibet continues to rely on outside skills.

Further, there is a tendency to blame Tibet’s natural conditions—high altitude and remoteness—for its lack of development in general. However, we believe Tibet’s natural conditions, if looked at from a more positive and different development perspective, do offer opportunities for sustainable development, which is both people- and environment-friendly. The Guidelines for International Development Projects and Sustainable Development in Tibet offer some practical suggestions for carrying out development which respects the natural environment as well as fulfills the basic needs of Tibetans. The purpose of these Guidelines is to ensure informed decision-making.

The Guidelines are addressed to donors, lenders and investors who are working in Tibet or might consider becoming involved in Tibet in the future. Whether the motive for working in Tibetan areas is to make grants, lend capital or invest in commercially profitable enterprises, all international interventions come under their scope.

These Guidelines articulate the needs of the Tibetan people for a future in which they can maintain their culture and spiritual traditions; fulfil basic human needs with access to services that facilitate a healthy and contented human life; and enable active participation in the wider world. They are intended to ensure that investing agencies and corporations do not further harm the interests of Tibetans, and can empower them so they can participate in the wider world. They apply to the whole of Tibet, which can be taken geographically as the entire plateau area, or administratively as all townships, counties, prefectures and regions designated by the PRC as belonging to ethnic Tibetans.

Ideally, development in Tibet should ensure that not a single Tibetan remains hungry or lacks the basic human needs of medicine, clothing and shelter; and that not a single Tibetan child is denied the opportunity of attending school. We do not support development which comes at the cost of loss of inner consciousness or soul; destruction of the environment; or consumption and use of resources that will deprive future generations of Tibetans.

Click here for a copy of the Guidelines

Contact: Lobsang Galak
Tel: (91) 1892-222510, 222457
Fax: (91) 1892 –224957
Email: ecodesk@gov.tibet.net
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