Ms. Kerstin Leitner, United Nations Development-Programme Representative
British Embassy Residence
The Qomolongma Nature Preserve (QNP) is located in southwestern Tibet on the northern slope of the main Himalayan range. It is named after Mt Qomolongma (Mt Everest). Its southern boundary comprises the international border between China and Nepal. The QNP consists of four counties of Shigatse Prefecture: Dingjie, Tingri, Jilong and Nyalam. Two of these counties are the poorest in Tibet with more than 30 percent of the population living below the absolute poverty line (530 Yuan per capita net income per year – 1990 prices)
Approximately 80,000 people live in the QNP area, which covers 33,910 sq.km. The majority of the population are farmers living in widely scattered villages that often have no more than 10-12 families in each. The cold arid climate of the QNP only allows one annual harvest of barley, the staple food grain of the QNP. Animal husbandry is an important part of the household and rural economy, and is largely dependent on animals that thrive in the harsh climate: sheep, goats and yaks, raised by nomads who follow seasonal grazing cycles. Most villages of the QNP do not produce sufficient food and must rely on trade, public sector employment and county subsidies.