April 17, 2004
Dharamsala (Himachal Pradesh), Apr 16 (IANS):
The Tibetan government-in-exile in this Indian hill town has issued fresh guidelines for development works in Tibet addressed to donor agencies, lenders and investors working in the region.
The government-in-exile has appealed to global development agencies, NGOs and corporations interested in working in Tibet to understand how their activities could not only benefit but also harm Tibetans in the current complex situation there, said a spokesman.
The Guidelines for International Development Projects and Sustainable Development in Tibet are aimed at ensuring that investing agencies and corporations do not further harm the interests of Tibetans, but empower them to participate in the wider world, he said.
The government-in-exile has welcomed the much needed development work but saud caution must be exercised on the issue of environment degradation there.
"Like many countries around the world, China faces challenges in controlling environmental degradation as well as maintaining 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," a spokesman for the government said.
The spokesman said 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.
However, in the case of Tibet this income disparity is more striking "due to the fact that... there is strong evidence of social exclusion and increasing marginalisation of the majority of Tibetans in the present economic boom", he said.
"After 50 years it is striking that human development in Tibet is still dismal and Tibet continues to rely on outside skills," the spokesman asserted.
He said if looked at from a positive and different development perspective, Tibet offered opportunities for sustainable development that was "both people friendly and environment friendly".
And so the guidelines aimed at ensuring informed decision making, which offer "practical suggestions for carrying out development that respects the natural environment as well as fulfils the basic needs of Tibetans', the spokesman said.
All international interventions come under the scope of the guidelines, whether the motive is to make grants, lend capital or invest in commercially profitable enterprises.