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Cablegate: Asean Widens Door for Engagement On Environment and Trade

VZCZCXYZ0015
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHJA #0165 0251108
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 251108Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY JAKARTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7758
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 1450
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 4672
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1926
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 4379
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS JAKARTA 000165

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR OES/ENRC, EAP/MTS/, EAP/RSP
USFS FOR CMACKIE
USTR FOR MLINSCOTT, DBROOKS
USAID FOR CBARBER, MMELNICK
NSC FOR CEQ CONNAUGHTON, VAN DYKE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SENV EAID KGHG ECON PGOV ID
REF: A) 2007 JAKARTA 2643 B) 2007 JAKARTA 2550 C) 2007 JAKARTA 2336
D) 2007 SINGAPORE 2092
SUBJECT: ASEAN WIDENS DOOR FOR ENGAGEMENT ON ENVIRONMENT AND TRADE

1. (SBU) Summary: Ministerial and Leaders' statements during the
2007 ASEAN Summit focused on regional environmental initiatives, and
recognized the significance of the illegal timber trade. The
various statements, together with the recent U.S.-China MOU on
illegal logging, present an opportunity to enhance and deepen
regional efforts in combating illegal logging and dealing with other
cross-border environmental and trade issues. GOI officials express
strong interest in pushing for ASEAN follow-through, including
creating a timber/logging component to ASEAN-WEN. End Summary.

2. (U) ASEAN focused on the environment during its 40-year
anniversary and in the run-up to COP 13 in Bali last December (refs
A and D). At the conclusion of the ASEAN Summit on November 20,
ASEAN leaders signed a "Declaration on Environmental Sustainability"
at November's Summit. As anticipated, ASEAN Ministers of
Agriculture and Forestry (AMAF) endorsed a "Ministerial Statement on
Strengthening Forest Law Enforcement and Governance (FLEG) in ASEAN"
at their 29th Meeting in Bangkok on November 1 (ref B). The
Ministers reaffirmed ASEAN's commitment to "combating illegal
logging and its associated trade", and called for strengthening
forest law enforcement and governance to address this problem -- the
first specific reference to illegal logging at such a high-level
ASEAN meeting.

3. (U) Immediately following the ASEAN Summit, Leaders at the 3rd
East Asia Summit (EAS) on November 21 issued a "Singapore
Declaration on Climate Change, Energy and the Environment". The
Declaration specifically highlighted the Heart of Borneo and Coral
Triangle Initiative (ref C) as important regional environmental
efforts.

4. (SBU) During a meeting on January 24 to discuss the
U.S.-Indonesia MOU on illegal logging, Indonesian Ministry of
Forestry (Dephut) officials expressed strong interest in convening a
regional dialogue involving all ASEAN country members. They believe
the ASEAN AMAF statement on illegal logging last fall, which
Indonesia vigorously advocated, offers the starting block on which
to engage all of ASEAN. The Dephut officials feel that a timber
counterpart -- or component -- to the ASEAN Wildlife Enforcement
Network (ASEAN-WEN) is now an appropriate and politically feasible
follow-through action. They add that the U.S.-China MOU on illegal
logging signed in December and the increased international focus on
forestry and deforestation in climate change discussions add further
weight.

5. (SBU) Comment: Concrete action on issues often gathers momentum
only after ASEAN leaders make these sorts of declarations. By doing
so, they provide the necessary high-level political backing for
regional initiatives. Initiating a regional dialogue and
cooperative activities on illegal logging should now be easier, as
ASEAN and GOI officials have noted (ref B). End Comment.

HUME

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