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Cablegate: Indonesia Seeks Support for Coral Triangle Initiative

VZCZCXRO9103
PP RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHJA #2334 2361025
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 241025Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY JAKARTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5927
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 0693
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 4235
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1051
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 4141
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS JAKARTA 002334

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EAP/MTS, EAP/RSP AND EB/IFD/ODF
TREASURY FOR TFCA - BERG
DEPARTMENT FOR OES/IET and OES/ETC
NSC FOR CEQ CONNAUGHTON, VAN DYKE

E.O. 12598: N/A
TAGS: SENV EAID KGHG ECON PREL ID

SUBJECT: INDONESIA SEEKS SUPPORT FOR CORAL TRIANGLE INITIATIVE

1. (U) Summary. Indonesia seeks U.S. support for its proposed Coral
Triangle Initiative, a new multilateral partnership that Indonesia
will raise at the upcoming APEC summit in Sydney. President Susilo
Bambang Yudhoyono's adviser Dino Djalal last week presented visiting
Chairman of the Council of Environmental Quality (CEQ) James
Connaughton a letter from SBY to President Bush on the proposed
initiative (text emailed to OES/IET). The Minister of Maritime
Affairs and Fisheries Freddy Numberi also briefed the U.S.,
Australian, Filipino, and Malaysian Ambassadors on August 23 and
solicited their support for the initiative. The exact details of
the initiative's objectives are not yet apparent, but the GOI has
set up a working group to prepare for the possible launch of the CTI
at the COP 13 Conference in Bali this December. End Summary.

2. (SBU) During the August 15-16 Council on Environmental Quality
visit (septel), Dino Djalal presented Chairman Connaughton with a
letter from President Yudhoyono to President Bush concerning the
CTI. The letter seeks U.S. support for the new multilateral
partnership and President SBY hopes to discuss the CTI at APEC in
September and raise it formally at the Conference of Parties 13 (COP
13) in Bali. Connaughton responded that the U.S. would be pleased to
discuss the issue. President SBY sent similar letters to the
leaders of the five other countries within the Coral Triangle (the
Phillipines, Malaysia, East Timor, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon
Islands) and to Australian Prime Minister Howard.

3. (SBU) Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Freddy Numberi
invited Ambassador Hume together with the Ambassadors from
Australia, Malaysia and the Philippines to a breakfast meeting on
August 23 to discuss the CTI. Numberi briefed them on the CTI and
solicited their support. Numberi said that scientists consider the
Coral Triangle area within the Indo-Pacific as the marine equivalent
of the Amazon and Congo basins, with the highest levels of coral
diversity (500 or more coral species) and richest marine life, in
the world. The Coral Triangle supports the livelihoods of some 126
million people living within this area, who depend on seafood as
their major source of protein. Unsustainable fishing methods,
land-based sources of pollution, and climate change all threaten the
area's marine life.

4. (SBU) Neither President SBY's letter nor Minister Numberi's
presentation provided specifics about how the CTI would be organized
or what the specific objectives of the initiative would be. We
understand that the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (MOMA)
has created a CTI interagency working group that would include
representatives from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Forestry,
Environment and the National Development Planning Agency (BAPPENAS).
The group's mandate will be to discuss how to bring CTI into the
COP 13 agenda in December.

5. (SBU) Comment. The Government of Indonesia sees this as a
high-priority initiative and intends to raise it at the September
APEC meeting, at a November APEC fisheries/maritime meeting in
Sulawesi, and at the December COP 13 meeting in Bali. In January
2008, the USG and Mexico will co-host an International Coral Reef
Initiative (ICRI) meeting. We will follow the progress of the
Indonesian interagency working group to identify opportunities for
U.S. involvement. One possibility: Congress is currently
considering legislation to include coral reefs in the Tropical
Forest Conservation Act (Indonesia is eligible for up to $19.6
million in debt swaps under that program). If Indonesia is
interested, we may be able to incorporate coral reefs into a future
TFCA program. End Comment.

2

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