Sat05272017

Last update10:10:44 AM GMT

PM says Tibet faces climate change threat

Tibetan Prime Minister-in-exile Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay places a khata on Tenzin Lama at the Dunedin Buddhist Centre yesterday. Photo: Linda Robertson.
Climate change is one of the greatest issues facing Tibet, Prime Minister-in-exile Dr Lobsang Sangay told people in Dunedin yesterday. The Prime Minister met members of the Dhargyey Buddhist Centre before giving a lecture at the University of Otago on the challenges faced by Tibet in the 21st century.

The fragility of the Tibetan environment was not widely known, he said.

''We are the water tower of Asia ...

''Hence Tibet is not just an issue for 6million Tibetans, it is also an issue for the whole world.''

Rapidly rising temperatures posed social challenges to urbanisation, he said.

Tibet's struggle for religious autonomy within the framework of the Chinese constitution was the country's best known struggle.

It was the Prime Minister's first visit to New Zealand and he had already seen similarities between Tibet and New Zealand. Both countries were home to lots of sheep, whose wool had long been used for the manufacture of rugs in Nepal, Dr Sangay said.

Director of the Dunedin Dhargyey Buddhist Centre Peter Small said the first visit of the elected Tibetan leader was significant for Dunedin's Tibetan community.

Dr Sangay replaced the Dalai Lama as Tibet's highest political leader in 2011.

''It was quite a momentous thing for the Tibetans to conduct an election across a number of countries where they are in exile.''

The Prime Minister, who lives in India, also spoke in Auckland and Wellington.

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