International activists to raise their voice on protection of Khuvsgul lake

2019-07-04 17:20:04

Ulaanbaatar /MONTSAME/ Organizers of the two-week campaign titled ‘Mother ocean eco-culture tour’ to raise national and international awareness of the environmental and cultural value of Khuvsgul lake, Mongolia’s largest freshwater lake, held press conference today, on July 4.

The campaign is also aimed at supporting the application for UNESCO World Heritage listing of the lake and surrounding area, which will be submitted after the tour.

About 60 local and international artists, environmental activists and lawyers are involved in the project. Fine and visual artists, musicians, performers and researchers from Australia, Bangladesh, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, the UK and Indonesia will take part in the eco-culture tour. Beginning in Ulaanbaatar, the participants will perform, organize eco-culture events and hold press conferences on the way to Khuvsgul Lake. 

A number of events including the International Musical Evening, auction, symposium on water rights and concerts are planned within the tour. All revenue from the auction and events will be accumulated to the fund for protection of Khuvsgul lake.

We interviewed the project manager Craig McVegas and artist Tikal De Meru about their impression on the campaign. 

- What made you decide to participate in this campaign?

Tikal: This project is very dear to me, because I am concerned with why and how I use my art to give voice to either the people or the environment that can’t speak for themselves. So I would like to pass the message through the art. In this case it is the environment, lake Khuvsgul. 

Craig: I have been working in Australia for the last five years in the environment movement. Over-exploitation of natural resources and environmental pollution caused by mining processes are the major problems in Australia. Based on my experience, I want to warn the people of Mongolia that they will meet the same fate. 

- What are your thoughts on the situation of Khuvsgul lake?

Tikal: From what I have learned, Khuvsgul lake is having pollution problems. In my understanding, nature has its own spirit and energy as humans do. From ancient times, the locals have treated the nature in a very conscious and healthy way. But in the modern era, attitude towards the environment has changed, creating great imbalance.

Craig: In 2015, an application for UNESCO World Heritage listing of Khuvsgul lake was denied due to lack of uniqueness as the environment of Baikal and Khuvsgul are similar. Thus, this time we are submitting the application on cultural basis, the uniqueness and lifestyle of indigenous people and shamans, who hold the secret of preserving the nature. We hope that this time the application will not be rejected.

- What do you expect from the campaign?

- We are looking forward to raise international awareness of the environmental and cultural value of Khuvsgul lake and help people understand the importance of the campaign. We are also very excited to meet the locals and shamans.