INDEPENDENT NEWS

Cablegate: Us Support for Marine Science and Integrated

Published: Mon 22 Aug 2005 03:49 AM
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
220349Z Aug 05
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 06 HANOI 002163
SIPDIS
STATE FOR OES MARSHA GOLDBERG
STATE PASS TO AID/ANE TRESCH, PATRICIA CHAPLINPCHAPLIN
STATE PASS TO NOAA/OIA JJUSTIEPA DENNIS CUNNINGHAM
STATE PASS TO DOE
STATE PASS TO DOE/EE/OAKRIDGE BRUCE BUNTING
BANGKOK FOR ECON JAMES WALLER
BANKKOK FOR , AID/RDMA TIM BEANS, AID/RDMA WINSTON BOWMAN
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SENV KSCA TBIO VM
SUBJECT: US SUPPORT FOR MARINE SCIENCE AND INTEGRATED
COASTAL MANAGEMENT IN VIETNAMVIETNAM: DUMPING GROUND FOR
DIRTY FUELS?
OR U.S. SUPPORT FOR CLEAN AIR IN VIETNAM
1. Summary. USAID's US-Asia Environmental Partnership (US-
AEP) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (US-EPA) have
supported a program for cleaner air quality in Vietnam for
several yearssince 1999. Thise program, which ends in
September, has been an example of strong bilateral support
between the United States and Vietnam. The program has
focusedfocuses on tightening vehicle emissions and fuel
quality standards and, including has resulted in the phase-
out of leaded gas in 2001 and the adoption of European
("Euro") vehicle emission and fuel quality standards in
2005. Equally significant, the Ministry of Science and
Technology (MOST) has adopted a timetable for enacting Euro
3 and 4 standards by 2010. This is the first comprehensive
fuel quality strategy for Vietnam and will have a profound
effect on the health and quality of life of 80 million
people. While representatives of the national oil refineries
and international automobile/ motorbike manufacturers were
supportive of the initiative, the primary fuel retailer
(PetroLimex) strongly resisted efforts to move forward a
"Roadmap" toward Euro standards, preferring to continue
importing dirtier, cheaper fuels at a higher relative profit
margin. If GVN fails to ratify Euro 3 and 4 standards in
2007 and 2010, Vietnam's predominantly import-oriented fuels
market could effectively become a dumping ground for dirty
fuels from China and elsewhere in the region. End Summary.
Significant among these achievements is the broad
stakeholder support catalyzed by US-AEP. Key government
agencies, national refineries (under construction), and
international vehicle/motorbike manufacturers including Ford
Motor and Honda Motorbike have endorsed the US-supported
"Roadmap" for Euro standards. However, Vietnam's primary
fuel retailer, Petroleum Import Export Corporation
(Petrolimex), has been recalcitrant. While GVN's recent
announcement to enact Euro 2 standards is a positive step
toward ensuring cleaner fuels, Vietnam still ranks near the
bottom of a list of countries in Asia to enact Euro 3 and 4
standards for gasoline and diesel. If GVN and public opinion
fail to exert adequate political pressure on lagging line
ministries and state-managed corporations such as Petrolimex
to adopt stricter Euro 3 and 4 standards as negotiated in
the Roadmap, Vietnam's predominantly import-oriented fuels
market will effectively become a dumping ground for dirty
fuels from China and elsewhere in the region. End Summary.
2. In Vietnam's rapidly developing cities, ever increasing
volumes of motorbikes, vehicles, and heavy-duty trucks are
causing increasing levels of urban air pollution and
associated health risks. The World Bank office in Hanoi
estimates that approximately ten million motorbikes are on
Vietnam's roads, comprising roughly 80 percent of vehicular
traffic. The nation's automobile fleet, while still
relatively small, is growing at about 15 percent per year in
Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) and twenty20 percent per year in
Hanoi. Increasing levels of air pollution in Hanoi and HCMC
often exceed recommended guidelines for urban air quality.
Vietnam News reported earlier this year that five percent of
the country's population, or four million individuals,
suffer from asthma. Other health risks of urban air
pollution include respiratory illness, lung disease, and
premature death.
3. Since 1999, USAID's US-Asia Environmental Partnership (US-
AEP) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (US-EPA) have
supported a program for cleaner air quality in Vietnam.
Activities have ranged from technical assistance to host
country agencies and universities, small grants such as a
sister-city clean air project between San Francisco and
HCMC, and study exchanges to share environmental
technologies and experiences in better air quality
management from the U.S. and the region. Most notable
outcome A significant milestone of these USG efforts in
Vietnam is the successful phase-out of leaded gasoline in
2001, which benefitsprofoundly affects the health and
quality of life of Vietnam's population of 80 million
people.
4. Over the past two years, the US-AEP/Vietnam program has
intensified efforts to boost GVN's capacity to manage urban
air quality and to raise public awareness to the health
affects of mobile source pollution. This has included
support for Hanoi's first roadside air quality monitoring
activity and support to the Health Effects Institute and
East West Center to research health risk exposure levels to
mobile source air pollution in HCMC. Chief among these
efforts is US-AEP technical assistance and support to MOST
and Vietnam Register/Ministry of Transportation to
developbroad-based governmental and industry-wide support
for a "Roadmap" for EURO standards for vehicle emissions and
fuels quality. that has been catalyzed by US-AEP. Other
activities include US-AEP/US-EPA support for
5. In July, the Minister of MOST signed Euro 2 vehicle
emissions and fuel standards for gasoline and diesel.
Equally as significant, MOST has adopted a timetable for
enacting Euro 3 and 4 standards by 2010. This is the first
comprehensive fuel quality strategy for Vietnam. According
General Statistic Office figures reported in Vietnam News,
Vietnam imported 7 million tons of fuel products in first
seven months of 2005, which is a 7.1 percent increase in
volume over the same period last year. The new fuel
standards will be effective starting July 1, 2007.
6. According to Mr. Vu Van Dien, Director of Vietnam
Standards Center, the draft fuel standard was amended
fifteen times during the USAID-supported stakeholder review
process.
Key government agencies (namely Vietnam Directorate of
Standards and Quality of MOST and Vietnam Register of the
Ministry of Transportation), PetroVietnam's refinery
department (NOTE: Vietnam is currently planning to build the
nation's first major refineries, Dung Quat in Quang Nghai
Province and Nghi Son in Thanh Hoa Province), international
vehicle/motorbike manufacturers including Ford Motor and
Honda Motorbike, and the World Fuels Quality Center have all
endorsed the US-supported "Roadmap" for Euro standards.
Vietnam's primary fuel retailer, Petroleum Import Export
Corporation (Petrolimex), has resisted these efforts,
preferring to continue importing dirtier, cheaper fuels at a
higher relative profit margin.
7. COMMENT: GVN has made significant, positive steps toward
improving vehicle emission and fuel quality standards.
However, GVN could go further and faster in setting cleaner
vehicle and fuel standards equal to the rest of ASEAN,
especially given Vietnam's unique position as a fuel
importer and that no refineries (in Vietnam) require costly
retrofitting to produce cleaner fuels. If MOST succumbs to
pressure from Petrolimex and ultimately fails to ratify Euro
3 and 4 standards in 2007 and 2010, Vietnam's predominantly
import-oriented fuels market will effectively become a
dumping ground for dirty fuels from China and elsewhere in
the region.
US-AEP/Vietnam has also leveraged support from the ADB's
Clean Air Initiative in Asia, the Health Effect's Institute,
and the East West Center to investigate linkages between air
pollution, exposure risk to high concentrations of mobile
sources of pollution, and poorer city dwellers in HCMC.
The vanguard promoting this Roadmap includes USAID, Vietnam
Directorate of Standards and Quality of the Ministry of
Science and Technology, Vietnam Register of the Ministry of
Transportation, Ford Vietnam, Honda Motorbike Company, and
the World Fuels Quality Center.
5. One result of the US-AEP Cleaner Vehicles and Fuels
program has been the
6. One result of the STATE/USAID/NOAA ICM project has been
increased USG and NGO support for MOFI's mandate to develop
and manage a national marine protected area system. This
has led to a separate initiative for a pilot Marine
Protected Area Training and Certification Program in Hon Mun
MPA in Nha Trang. In partnership with MOFI, Danish
International Development Agency (DANIDA), USAID, IUCN,
Conservation International, The Nature Conservancy and
United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), NOAA will have
the lead for the pilot MPA training and certification
program at Hon Mun MPA in Nha Trang. The two-year project
aims to develop local and regional capacity and expertise in
designating, implementing and managing MPAs with a major
emphasis on improving enforcement ability of Vietnam's newly
established MPAs.
7. Comment: NOAA has effectively built partnerships,
bridged traditional barriers and delivered tangible, highly
valued products here in Vietnam in a relatively short period
of time. NOAA's work with Vietnam and China has stimulated
improved dialogue between these two countries on marine
management and conservation in the Gulf of Tonkin. NOAA
also is the technical coordinator for a UNDP/Global
Environment Facility/NOAA initiative launched this year for
marine biodiversity conservation in China's southern seas.
Three of the sites for this initiative are in the greater
Tonkin Gulf region of China (Shankou, Weizhou and Sanya).
NOAA's simultaneous presence in Vietnam and China and its
credibility with both countries could lead to a new regional
management framework for the Gulf of Tonkin in the future.
Such a framework could help assuage the offshore territorial
concerns. The Vietnam Mission strongly endorses providing
funds for NOAA's continued engagement in the coastal Tonkin
Gulf region.
MARINE
Assistant Administrator of NOAA's National Ocean Service Dr.
Richard Spinrad led a five-person NOAA delegation to attend
a wrap-up workshop of EAP-EI/USAID/NOAA project Building
Capacity for ICM in Tonkin Gulf in Quang Ninh Province,
Vietnam on March 13-16, 2005. Dr. Spinrad's visit to Hanoi
and Ha Long City, Vietnam, highlighted the good cooperation
between the GVN and USG on science and technology,
particularly in the topics of coastal management, oil spill
planning, and weather/flood forecasting. STATE/USAID/NOAA
support during 2002-2005 is estimated at $850,000, funding
projects such as Building Capacity for Integrated Coastal
Management (ICM) in Tonkin Gulf; Improved Oil Spill
Contingency Planning in Saigon River; and Establishing Pilot
Marine Protected Area (MPA) Training and Certification
Program in Vietnam. The ICM project has also facilitated
greater cooperation and exchange between coastal managers in
Vietnam and China. During the visit, Minister of Fisheries
Dr. Ta Quang Ngoc and Dr. Nguyen Khoa Son, the Vice
President of the Vietnamese Academy of Science and
Technology, expressed gratitude for the good cooperation
between the GVN and USG in marine science and highlighted
interest for increased support and cooperation in integrated
coastal management, marine protected areas management,
fisheries management, and oceanography. End Summary.
2. On March 14-16, Assistant Administrator of NOAA's
National Ocean Service Dr. Richard Spinrad led a five-person
NOAA delegation to attend a wrap-up workshop of EAP-
EI/USAID/NOAA project Building Capacity for ICM in Tonkin
Gulf in Quang Ninh Province, Vietnam. Dr. Spinrad also met
with Minister of Fisheries Ta Quan Ngoc and Dr. Nguyen Khoa
Son, the Vice President of the Vietnamese Academy of Science
and Technology. Dr. Spinrad made a presentation on the U.S.
Commission on Ocean Policy (USCOP) and the U.S. Ocean Action
Plan to Vice Minister of Fisheries Nguyen Viet Thang, Vice
Chairmen Nguyen Van Thanh of the Hai Phong People's
Committee, and Mr. Tran Duc Lam, a representative of the
Quang Ninh People's Committee. Advancing international ocean
science and policy is one of the six recommended responses
detailed in the U.S. Ocean Action Plan signed by President
Bush in December 2004.
Integrated Coastal Management in Northern Tonkin Archipelago
--------------------------------------------- ------------
3. Since 2002, the Department of State's East Asia Pacific
Environmental Initiative (EAP-EI), USAID, and NOAA have
supported the project Building Capacity for Integrated
Coastal Management in Tonkin Gulf in Quang Ninh Province,
Vietnam. NOAA and the World Conservation Union (IUCN) are
carrying out the project in partnership with Vietnam's
Ministry of Fisheries (MOFI), the Hai Phong Institute of
Oceanography (HIO), and the Ha Long Bay Management Authority
(HLBMA) of Quang Ninh Province with technical support from
NOAA's National Marine Sanctuaries Program (NMSP), USAID's
US-Asia Environmental Partnership (US-AEP), UCLA
(Reefcheck), and University of New Hampshire (Sea Grant).
4. The project has been highlighted in the Annual US-Vietnam
Bilateral Science & Technology Meeting as an example of
strong bilateral partnership support with both science-based
and policy/management-driven project outcomes. Specific
project outcomes to date include: baseline socio-economic
assessments; habitat mapping of seagrasses and corals; SCUBA
training; ecotourism planning workshops; policy analysis;
environmental awareness/public outreach materials;
translation of ICM technical documents into Vietnamese; and
study exchanges to Florida Keys, Chesapeake Bay, and NOAA
headquarters in Silver Spring, MD.
5. Project activities were designed to share information and
knowledge amongst stakeholders from central-level agencies,
provincial planning departments, and non-governmental
organizations (NGOs) working in Ha Long Bay World Heritage
site and to build cooperation and to build programmatic
linkages between resource managers and institutions in the
US, Vietnam, and China. For example, mooring buoys were
installed in Vietnam by technical experts from China using
US-funded equipment. A June-2005 study exchange of
Vietnamese officials to China is another example of the
regional linkages of the USAID/NOAA project.
6. ICM seeks to balance inherent conflicts between economic
development and environmental protection in the coastal
zone. ICM emphasizes coordination in development planning
horizontally across line ministries/departments and across
geographic boundaries as well as horizontally from central
to local levels and vice-versa. Conflicts in the project
area include coal mining, aquaculture, deep seaport
development, tourism development, and protection of unique
cultural, biological, and seascape values of the World
Heritage Site.
7. The first phase of this four-phase project began in 2002
and ends in March 2005. There is no funding for the second
phase of the project. In December 2003, Embassy Science
Fellow Anne Walton (NOAA) developed a Strategic Plan for
Integrated Coastal management in the Northern Tonkin
Archipelago, which forms the basis for next two phases of
the project (see reftel 12958). Limited activities will
continue in the interim, such as a GVN-funded study exchange
to China's National Ocean Service. NOAA intends to submit a
proposal to STATE/OESI for Phase II project support. During
meeting between Ambassador Marine and Assistant
Administrator Spinrad, Ambassador Marine expressed support
for NOAA's continued technical assistance to GVN in a few
targeted, results-oriented projects, including ICM in the
Northern Tonkin Archipelago.
Improving Oil Spill Response Planning in Saigon River
Estuary
--------------------------------------------- --------------
8. Since 2003, the USAID's US-Asia Environmental Partnership
(US-AEP) and NOAA's Office of Response and Restoration have
supported the project Improved Oil Spill Contingency
Planning in Saigon River in Vung Tau Province, Vietnam in
partnership with PetroVietnam and Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province
People's Committee. The project seeks to improve the human
and institutional capacity at local and regional levels to
respond to and plan for coastal/marine oil spills. Outcomes
include study exchanges to US to understand Tier 1-3
response systems, stakeholder discussions on adopted oil
spill contingency plan, technical training in science of oil
spills and shoreline assessment, and development of
geographic response planning (GRP) maps for the Vung Tau
province.
9. During March 7-11, USAID, NOAA, and US Coast Guard Strike
Team staff and contractors conducted a 5-day training
workshop on Oil Spill Response and Shoreline Assessment in
the Saigon River in Vung Tau City. The workshop was co-
sponsored by the Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province People's Committee
and PetroVietnam. The training focused on the science of
oil spills, response planning at local, regional and
national levels, and a field trip/shoreline assessment of
how to respond to oil spills at beach, mangrove, and mudflat
habitats. Over thirty officials from government agencies,
port authorities, and regional oil spill response teams from
Vung Tau, HCMC, Dong Nai, Binh Thuan, Danang, and Hanoi
participated in a tabletop oil spill emergency response
drill.
10. Over 10,000 vessels per year traverse the shipping lanes
of the lower Saigon River, an area that supports
aquaculture, tourism, and mangroves of the Can Gio UNESCO
Man and Biosphere Reserve. Roughly 6-8 significant oil
spills occur every year, challenging local authorities and
fisherfolk to improve response and remedies. With oil/gas
development, tourism, and fisheries topping the list of
Vietnam's hard-currency earning sectors, GVN has been keen
to improve their capacity in oil spill response.
11. In February 2005, Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung
reportedly requested the National Committee for Search and
Rescue to expedite plans to establish three regional oil
spill response centers for the northern, central, and
southern regions of Vietnam. PetroVietnam has been
authorized to manage and operate the oil spill response
center for the southern region, while a company owned by the
Vietnamese Navy operates the oil spill response center for
the middle region.
Support for Pilot Marine Protected Area Training and
Certification Program in Hon Mun MPA in Nha Trang
--------------------------------------------- -------
12. On March 18, NOAA and USAID staff met with MOFI, DANIDA,
IUCN, and Conservation International officials to discuss
development of a pilot project Marine Protected Area (MPA)
training program in Vietnam. Working in partnership with
MOFI, DANIDA, USAID, IUCN, Conservation International, The
Nature Conservancy, SeaWeb, and UNEP, NOAA's National Marine
Sanctuary Program (NMSP) will be the lead USG office to
support the pilot MPA training and certification program at
Hon Mun MPA in Nha Trang. The two-year project aims to
provide a knowledge base for developing local and regional
capacity and expertise in designation, implementation, and
management of MPAs with major emphasis on improving
enforcement capacity of Vietnam's newly established MPAs.
The Embassy Science Fellow Anne Walton (NOAA/NMSP) is the
project coordinator.
13. Under the Law on Fisheries (2004), MOFI has authority to
designate and manage a national MPA system. The MPA system
currently consists of 15 sites, most of which are "paper
parks" that lack on-the-ground law enforcement or
conservation capabilities. Since 2001, the World
Bank/Global Environment Facility, DANIDA, and IUCN have
supported a four-year, US$2 million project with the
Ministry of Fisheries and Khanh Hoa Province to develop an
effective provincial MPA authority and a system for co-
management with local resource users. A follow-on DANIDA
project is under development and will likely focus on
support to the National MPA System, including support to Hon
Mun, Cu Lao Cham, and Phu Quoc Island MPAs.
GVN Interest in Continued US Support for Marine Sciences
Research and Education
--------------------------------------------- --------------
14. On March 16, Dr. Spinrad met with Minister of Fisheries
Ta Quang Ngoc. The Minister noted that fisheries are a
vital economic and food resource for the Vietnamese people,
especially poorer populations. The Minister expressed deep
gratitude for U.S. cooperation and support for coastal
management initiatives in Vietnam and could expand to
include fisheries resource conservation. The Minister also
expressed a desire to move beyond multilateral (e.g. APEC)
and bilateral talks and develop long-term technical
assistance initiatives. The Minister was very pleased to
receive a copy of the U.S. Ocean Action Plan that was
presented by Dr. Spinrad.
15. Dr. Spinrad also made called on Dr. Nguyen Khoa Son, the
Vice President of the Vietnamese Academy of Science and
Technology (VAST). Dr. Son listed VAST's programmatic
priorities as follows: biotechnologies; information
technologies; environmental technologies; biological
research; marine science and technologies; disaster
prevention and natural hazardous; electronics and
instrumentation; and seismology and earthquakes. VAST's
annual budget for 18 research institutes, including the
National Oceanographic Institute, is approximately US$50-80
million. VAST is constructing new laboratories (US$3 million
each) for genetics, information technologies/ electronics,
and plant science technologies. Future laboratories are
reportedly planned to include microbiology, robotics, and
satellite/earth observing.
16. Remarking on the good cooperation between GVN and USG in
science and technology, the Dr. Son expressed strong
interest in expanding scientific cooperation with NOAA,
especially in oceanography. Dr. Son wants to expand
bilateral cooperation beyond short visits between
researchers and to engage in joint-research projects, but
needs financial support and seeks identification of
mechanisms to fund US-Vietnam research projects.
Dr. Son was also interested in placing more Vietnamese
candidates in U.S. universities through the Vietnam
Education Fund.
BOARDMAN
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