Nomads in ‘no man’s land’: China’s nomination for UNESCO World heritage risks imperilling Tibetans and wildlife

by melanie.blondelle | June 30, 2017 7:50 am

Nomads by Diane Barker

Tibetan pastoralists have made skillful use of the dry landscape of the Tibetan plateau for centuries, co-existing peacefully with wildlife and protecting the land. The involvement of Tibetans – and nomads in particular – as stewards is essential to sustaining the long-term health of the ecosystems, and the water resources that China and Asia depend upon. (Image: Diane Barker, Instagram: Heartofasia108)

Krakow – A new report by the International Campaign for Tibet[1] reveals how a Chinese government nomination for UNESCO World Heritage status for a vast area of Tibet – due to be decided in Krakow next week – involves removing Tibetan nomads, who protect the landscape and its wildlife.

A report published today before the World Heritage Committee meets in Krakow, Poland, by the International Campaign for Tibet reveals how the Hoh Xil nature reserve on the Tibetan plateau (Achen Gangyap in Tibetan), nominated for UNESCO status, is in the middle of three major nature reserves that increasingly exclude normal Tibetan land use such as nomadic herding, situate the state as the sole agency of control, and encourage mass tourism.

Matteo Mecacci, President of the International Campaign for Tibet, said: “While of course we fully support the aim of protecting biodiversity in the UNESCO application, there is no justification for removing nomads or seeking to block passage of herders through the area, or for using the UNESCO brand to boost tourism and infrastructure while doing so. China’s UNESCO nomination denies the Tibetan human presence, and the long history of Tibetans sustainably curating the land.

Our message to the UNESCO World Heritage Committee meeting in Krakow next week is that the inscription of Hoh Xil should be deferred pending a detailed assessment involving stakeholders and experts, consistent with UNESCO guidelines. The nomadic tradition of one of the richest spiritual cultures in the world must be respected and indeed honoured – Tibetans have preserved the natural and cultural heritage of their homeland to a degree that allows it to be considered as World Heritage in the first place. The involvement of Tibetans – and nomads in particular – as stewards is essential to sustaining the wildlife, the long-term health of the ecosystems, and the water resources that China and Asia depend upon.”

ICT will present its findings at the 4th International Civil Society Forum on World Heritage at Risk in Krakow, Poland, on Friday (June 30) prior to the 41st meeting of the World Heritage Committee from July 2.

ICT’s new report documents the following:

Click here[2] to download the full report in PDF.

Endnotes:
  1. A new report by the International Campaign for Tibet: https://www.savetibet.org/nomads-in-no-mans-land-chinas-nomination-for-unesco-world-heritage-risks-imperilling-tibetans-and-wildlife/
  2. here: https://www.savetibet.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Nomads-in-no-mans-land-ICT-30062017.pdf

Source URL: http://www.tibetpolicy.eu/nomads-in-no-mans-land-chinas-nomination-for-unesco-world-heritage-risks-imperilling-tibetans-and-wildlife/