Cablegate: Views On Environment for Potus Visit From Indonesia

Published: Thu 27 Aug 2009 12:09 PM
DE RUEHJA #1421/01 2391209
P 271209Z AUG 09
E.O. 12598: N/A
SUBJECT: Views on Environment for POTUS Visit from Indonesia
Presidential Palace
REF: Jakarta 1352
1. (SBU) Summary: Indonesia Presidential Advisor on Environment Emil
Salim and Secretary to the Coordinating Minister of Social Welfare
Indroyono Soesilo strongly advocate an ambitious agenda for the
upcoming POTUS visit, including:
-- Fisheries-based food security initiative through establishing a
Joint Institute on Sustainable Ocean Fisheries (concept description
-- New international and domestic forestry and peat initiatives
-- Concluding the S agreement
-- Finishing permit approvals for NOAA's Okeanos Explorer visit as
the first concrete S item
-- Addressing technical capacity shortfalls and pricing advice on
geothermal and renewable energy
-- Potential GOI counterparts for a Bi-national Commission on
Environment Management and Climate Change.
Post will continue exploring these ideas with Indonesian
2. (SBU) The DCM met separately with Salim and Soesilo August 25 and
26, respectively. Salim and Soesilo noted that the GOI has focused
heavily on climate adaptation given expectations that Copenhagen
will fail to produce an international agreement. Salim noted that
any U.S. partnership should feature science cooperation and
technical capacity building, given U.S. expertise and Indonesian
needs to address the environment. He welcomed President Obama's on
science exchange and linkages, noting that this provides an
opportunity to highlight how Islam can bring peaceful benefits to
the global community. Soesilo expressed enthusiasm to champion
cooperation on new fisheries initiatives and committed to lobbying
senior officials in the GOI to quickly finalize the S agreement.
End Summary.
Food Security/Climate Adaptation - a Fisheries Institute
-------------------------------- -----------------------
3. (SBU) Salim commented that Indonesia is bracing for a poor
outcome at Copenhagen this December. However, Indonesia and the
United States could make progress on climate change adaptation,
which has been the neglected step-child next to mitigation. For
example, Salim pointed out Indonesia's marine biodiversity is
intimately tied to its food security, but few are focused on oceans
and fisheries despite the potential impacts of climate change. The
DCM recalled Indonesia's leadership in the World Ocean Conference
(WOC) and Coral Triangle Initiative (CTI), in which adaptation and
food security were key themes. Salim stated that fisheries-based
food security would be a practical area of cooperation on climate
change adaptation given that Indonesia hosts the world's greatest
marine biodiversity and 65% of its population relies on oceans for
their livelihoods. Salim agreed that scientific collaboration based
out of a joint institute on sustainable ocean fisheries has the
potential for joint presidential endorsement during the POTUS
4. (SBU) Soesilo, a 20-year veteran of the fisheries and natural
resource ministries, embraced the concept and committed to explore
the initiative. He suggested consideration of housing such a new
joint collaboration where Indonesia has existing facilities, and
where transportation is relatively convenient so that the platform
could promote international cooperation. As an initial step, he
offered to personally lead a fact-finding mission for the Embassy.
He outlined potential sites in Bali where Indonesia has already
established an oceans observation center on three hectares of land
and a separate "world class" fisheries institute with participation
from scientists from Japan, Australia and Denmark focusing on
culturing of fish species, including grouper and tuna. He also
urged a USG team to come to Indonesia to explore the opportunities
and also committed to sending an Indonesian team to the U.S. to work
on the specifics of a joint institute.
U.S. Support for Oceans in Copenhagen Draft
5. (SBU) Salim also noted that through the CTI and WOC, Indonesia
has championed the inclusion of oceans into the international
climate discussion as a fundamental component. Soesilo requested
that the U.S. support the inclusion in the final Copenhagen document
of no fewer than the currently drafted 22 paragraphs that refer to
Forests and Peat - More Support Needed
JAKARTA 00001421 002 OF 003
6.(SBU) Regarding the question of what Indonesia coud do in
advance on Copenhagen to reduce carbon eissions, Salim suggested
that the U.S. support th idea that Indonesia take a leadership
position o create a "Peat 5," similar to the "Forest 11"
nternational sub-group. The purpose, he explained is to focus
attention on the importance of peatin global GHG mitigation and
ultimately bring ecoomic value to peat so that countries would
protet critical peat lands. The DCM asked if PresidentYudhoyono
could announce a new direction of limiing plantation crops in
Indonesia to only previosly degraded land. He said this is
possible but hat President Yudhoyono would need to be acclimate to
the idea, as well as to the "Peat 5" idea. e added that a U.S.
supp ort of the idea expresse directly to President Yudhoyono would
. (SBU) Salim urged U.S. contribution to the forestpeat
partnership to take the form of scientific nd technical assistance
- Indonesia does not have a single peat expert. Salim said all this
could lead to broader global cooperation during the United Nations
Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiations in
Copenhagen this December, and beyond.
8. (SBU) Both Salim and Soesilo agreed that there would be value in
replicating the recently concluded Tropical Forest Conservation Act
(TFCA) agreement for Sumatra in other places in Indonesia, like
Papua. Salim pointed out that Papua has a champion of the
environment in its governor, which makes successful environment
cooperation possible. He also mentioned Kalimantan as another
possible site. Soesilo saw potential in a second TFCA in that it
could be a relatively uncomplicated undertaking.
Science Capacity Building, S Agreement, Okeanos, IUC
-------------------------- ---------------------------
9. (SBU) Salim stressed that Indonesia needs extensive scientific
research and capacity building to address both long-term adaptation
and mitigation challenges. Salim admitted that Indonesia has too
little technical capacity to adequately undertake coastal
vulnerability assessments and infrastructure planning for climate
change. "You [the U.S.] have the brains," Salim acknowledged, and
reiterated the importance of education and scientific exchange as a
component of the Indonesia-U.S. Comprehensive Partnership. The more
of this, the better, because of Indonesia's immense need for more
engineers, more scientists -- the human resources essential to
prepare the country for climate change.
10. (SBU) Regarding the bilateral science and technology agreement
currently under negotiation, Soesilo noted that it would be shameful
for the umbrella agreement to be held hostage by any of the
remaining three areas of contention: IPR, Material Transfer
Agreement (MTA), and taxation. Soesilo pointed out that the science
community in Indonesia recognizes the benefits of cooperation and
desperately wants to deepen joint activities. During the meeting
with the DCM, he stopped briefly to contact the Minister of Research
and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to urge finalization of the
agreement. The DCM noted that the issuance of the research permit
in advance of the POTUS visit for NOAA's Okeanos Explorer could be
the first substantial item of cooperation under an umbrella S
agreement. Soesilo noted that the Indonesian cabinet agreed in
principle to the visit of the Okeanos, and that there should be no
insurmountable issues, even security-related. He asked to be kept
informed of the progress. The DCM also updated Soesilo regarding
the status of negotiations with the Ministry of Health regarding
NAMRU-2 and the establishment of the Indonesia-U.S. Joint Medical
Research Center (IUC).
Renewable Energy - Geothermal
11. (SBU) Salim also welcomed USG assistance on identifying
obstacles to developing renewable energy, particularly geothermal.
He noted this sector as central to Indonesian's priority to reduce
reliance on coal and its associated GHG emissions. The DCM
mentioned that the Department of Energy, U.S. Export-Import Bank and
Trade Development Authority are seriously looking at how to support
geothermal development in Indonesia, and provided a detailed e-mail
update of activities subsequent to the meeting.
Future Coordination through a Bi-National Commission
--------------------------------------------- -------
12. (SBU) Salim appreciated the wide array of USG activities on
environment and science in Indonesia. A bi-national, interagency
commission that met regularly to advance our environmental and
JAKARTA 00001421 003 OF 003
climate cooperation -- both bilaterally and internationally -- could
be useful. He advised that if climate is the focus, the National
Climate Change Council (NCCC) would be the natural counterpart.
However, he cautioned that the NCCC is plagued by a serious lack of
technical capacity. If project execution is the focus, the National
Planning Agency (Bappenas) would be a better counterpart because it
has leverage over other ministries and agencies in Indonesia.
Similarly, Soesilo noted that NCCC is fine for discussions related
to Copenhagen, but that NCCC and Bappenas together would make for
more robust environment cooperation. He explained that the NCCC
structure features President Yudhoyono as chair with an Executive
Council of Ministers, including Bappenas, at the second level. The
Executive Chairman is Rachmat Witoler in his personal capacity, so
the next Environment Minister will not occupy that seat.
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