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The Earth's Third Pole


8 Nov, 2010

Called the Earth's Third Pole by scientists, as only the North and South poles hold more glacially stored freshwater, the Tibetan Plateau is undergoing climate change twice as fast as the rest of the world. Glacier meltdown across Tibet is disrupting downstream water supplies, threatening the sustainable livelihoods of Tibetan nomads and villages, and putting the lives of more than one billion downstream peoples and communities across south and east Asia at risk.

WHY Earth's Third Pole Mission Statement and Goals

Earth's Third Pole advocates for the fundamental human right of Tibetans to assure the persistence of their cultural, social, and economic lifeways, which are inherently linked to Tibetís high-altitude grasslands, and the right to determine their own fate and future as they adapt to climate change.

We seek full participation of Tibetans in all aspects of the long-term restoration, management and use, and conservation of Tibet's ecosystems, ecosystem services, and conservation zones, for the benefit of all beings. Tibetans are been and must continue to be full partners in the stewardship of Tibetís ecosystems.

We seek alliances and collaborations with scientists, governments, NGOs, and peoples across Asia whose fate and future depend on the ecosystem services that the Tibetan Plateau provides. Together, we will work to achieve the following goals

  1. A halt to the removal of Tibetan nomads from the high-altitude grasslands of the Tibetan Plateau. Tibetans across the Tibetan Plateau have a fundamental human right to determine how best to live in the homeland they have known for millennia.

  2. An immediate halt to all land uses that threaten the Tibetan Plateau's ecosystems, ecosystem services, and traditional sustainable land uses. We are especially concerned for the water resources of the Tibetan Plateau, which provide life-giving waters to more than one billion people in ten downstream nations.

  3. An independent, international scientific assessment of the Tibetan Plateau's ecosystems, ecosystem services, & land-use policies. Only through the participation of scientists and relevant stakeholders from Tibet, as well as from those nations that depend on Tibetís ecosystem services, will there be a rigorous examination of the environmental conditions, a credible analysis and interpretation of the findings, and an equitable and durable approach to adapting to and mitigating the affects of climate change in the region.

  4. The use of social & ecological assessment tools & data, including traditional ecosystem knowledge, to determine appropriate human & ecosystem adaptation and mitigation strategies on behalf of the sustainable land uses of local communities and landscape-scale conservation initiatives.

  5. The creation and active use of transparent, inclusive, & on-going local and transboundary resource management & decision-making mechanisms that include all regional stakeholders, especially Tibetís nomadic herders.

  6. The creation of ecologically strategic conservation zones across the Tibetan Plateau in order to restore and enhance not only the health of ecosystem services but which also involve and support Tibetans' traditional livelihoods and their sustainable livelihood and land-use practices.

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