We, as members of civil society, climate activists and people concerned by the growing climate crisis, recognise that frontline communities must be at the forefront of our collective struggle.
No serious global effort can be taken to address the global climate crisis if those who are most vulnerable are shut out from talks or prevented from representing themselves at forums such as COP26. We believe that such voices must be amplified, not marginalised.
Among those voices are those of Tibetans, whose homeland of Tibet consists of grasslands, rivers and the third-largest reserves of frozen water in the world. For over 8,000 years, Tibetans have stewarded and sustained this precious ecosystem. Now it is at grave risk.
Due to the climate crisis, Tibet is seeing its glaciers recede faster than anywhere else in the world. By the end of this century, experts predict that Tibet will have warmed to 5ºC and lost two-thirds of its current glacier ice. These problems are exacerbated by the mines and dams being built across occupied Tibet and the exploitation of its minerals under Chinese Communist Party rule.
The dangers this poses to Tibet’s landscape, to Tibetans’ way of life and to the water reserves that an estimated two billion people across Asia depend on cannot be overestimated. Yet as an occupied people, Tibetans are rarely given the chance to represent themselves. Like other occupied and indigenous peoples, Tibetans are sometimes spoken about, but rarely spoken to.
We believe that Tibetans are an integral part of the climate movement. We stand with them and call for their voices to be heard.