The Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research (ITP), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) was officially founded in 2003, with the objectives of becoming a “High-level, International and Service-oriented” research institute and meeting the national strategy of supporting the sustainable development of Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau by frontier science and technology.
By establishing three campuses in Beijing, Lhasa and Kunming, ITP has built a comprehensive platform for observation, experiment and research supported by a number of top-level professional teams on high mountain study. Focusing on core scientific issues of the uplifting of Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau (referred as Third Pole) and its impacts to the regional/global environment, ITP has carried out cutting-edge studies on geodynamics, land-surface processes and environmental changes over the Third Pole, as well as the high mountain biological genetic resources and the biological adaptability under extreme environments. Through exploring the pioneer research on earth system sciences of high mountains, ITP is able to provide profound scientific support to the sustainable development of the Third Pole and surrounding regions.
The Third Pole, also called as the Water Tower of Asia, provides the lifeline for people living in south, east and southeast Asia. It has always been a hotspot for the international frontiers research and one of the top priorities in national R&D agenda. How to protect the natural environment in Third Pole region and improve its ecosystem services become major tasks for both science community and policy makers. At this background, the Second Tibetan Plateau Scientific Expedition and Research (STEP) was officially launched in 2017 supported by CAS, the Government of Tibet Autonomous Region, and the Ministry of Science and Technology. President Xi Jinping of China sent a congratulatory letter to celebrate the launching of STEP. In his letter, President Xi hailed the Tibetan Plateau as the roof of the world, the Asian Water Tower, and the Third Pole of the Earth, and highlighted its new position as an important ecological security barrier for whole China. He encouraged the scientists and experts to focus on in-depth study on water, ecosystem and human activities changes over Tibetan Plateau, and solve the problems on natural resource and environment carrying capacity, disaster risks and green development. In 2018, the "Pan-Third Pole Environment Study for a Green Silk Road" (referred as Pan-TPE) was initiated by ITP and funded by CAS. The Pan-TPE program is to clarify the natural conditions and environmental change impacts in the Pan-Third Pole region, and propose sustainable development pathways for green silk road. On the basis of ITP-initiated international programs of "Third-Pole Environment (TPE)" and Pan-TPE, the International Big Science Plan: "Three Poles Environment and Climate Change (TPEC)" is under preparation. All these programs and projects reflect the importance of understanding the climate change impacts to the natural and human systems over the high mountains, and how to meet the challenges of the sustainable development of the Third Pole by new researches and technologies.
Generations of scientists, who devoted themselves to the Tibetan Plateau, have not only made outstanding contributions to scientific research, but also left us with the spirits of climbing higher and perusing better. In the future, we will continue to build up high-level comprehensive observation and research platform with national and international partners, and cultivate young scientists who are interested in high mountain studies to strength our research teams. We will keep openness and sharing with collaborators to improve the capacities in scientific research and strategic consulting.
As the Director of ITP, I sincerely welcome the researchers and experts from all over the world, who have same interests, motivation and passion with us, to join ITP family actively. Through our hard work and extensive cooperation, we will jointly advance the earth system sciences in high mountains and build a beautiful Tibetan Plateau, as well as a green Silk Road!
Thank you very much!
Member of Chinese Academy of Sciences
Member of the World Academy of Sciences