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Cablegate: Tools for a Green Island: Addressing Environment And

VZCZCXRO5032
RR RUEHAO RUEHGR RUEHHT
DE RUEHSJ #0146/01 0531709
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 221709Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY SAN JOSE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9461
RUEHKG/AMEMBASSY KINGSTON 0807
INFO RUEHME/AMEMBASSY MEXICO 4619
RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA 4199
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 1111
RUEHAO/AMCONSUL CURACAO 0069
RUEHWN/AMEMBASSY BRIDGETOWN 0792
RUEHHT/AMCONSUL HAMILTON 0023
RUEHBH/AMEMBASSY NASSAU 0258
RUEHDG/AMEMBASSY SANTO DOMINGO 1583
RUEHGR/AMEMBASSY GRENADA 0018
RUEHPU/AMEMBASSY PORT AU PRINCE 0572
RUEHPO/AMEMBASSY PARAMARIBO 0333
RUEHSP/AMEMBASSY PORT OF SPAIN 0467
RUEHUB/USINT HAVANA 0036
RUEHZA/WHA CENTRAL AMERICAN COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 SAN JOSE 000146

SIPDIS

STATE PLEASE PASS TO AID
AID FOR JGARRISON
KINGSTON PLEASE PASS TO NCARTER AND JHARMON

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SENV EAID ENRG JM
SUBJECT: TOOLS FOR A GREEN ISLAND: ADDRESSING ENVIRONMENT AND
DEVELOPMENT in JAMAICA

REF: 07 STATE 30914

1. SUMMARY. While in Kingston October 21-24, 2007, REO met with
UNEP, GOJ environmental officials, and U.S. Mission environmental
partners to discuss priorities and potential tools. UNEP's Franklin
Macdonald shared his views on WW2BW's future. Jamaica's National
Environment and Planning Agency flagged gaps in land planning
expertise in seeking to mitigate the impact of development on the
environment. AID reviewed on-going environment and poverty
alleviation projects. Although this report is dated, we believe the
information is still of interest, applicable in 2008 and thus useful
to readers. See opportunities for cooperation, para 13. END
SUMMARY.

2. REO visited Jamaica October 21-24, 2007. Valuable meetings with
Econoff Nathan Carter and the AID environmental delegation
highlighted changing priorities in the U.S.-Jamaica bilateral
environmental relationship. REO met with United National
Environmental Program (UNEP) official Franklin MacDonald and (by
phone) future hire Maria Plotz to discuss their thinking on White
Water to Blue Water. REO reviewed priorities with National
Environment and Planning Agency officials Winsome Townsend and
Sheries Simpson, and discussed implementation of Jamaica's
Enterprise of the Americas Initiative and Tropical Forest
Conservation Act funds.

White Water to Blue Water: Ideas for Moving Forward
--------------------------------------------- -------

3. REO met with Franklin Macdonald, White Water to Blue Water
co-chair. (WW2BW is a public-private partnership to promote
integrated management of watershed and marine resources for the
Greater Caribbean area.) He viewed WW2BW's most important
accomplishment as providing "definition" to environmental efforts,
promoting a regional grasp of problems and strategies for integrated
watershed management and marine resource efforts. MacDonald
expected that energy would be generated by the launch of a new
website and 2008 Year of the Reef activities.

4. Macdonald hoped that the proposed Regional Center for Small
Island Developing States, slated for Barbados, would provide
secretarial backing to WW2BW, but this entity has not materialized.

SIPDIS
In order to ensure routine follow-up to inquiries, public outreach,
and coordination, MacDonald said he would continue to serve as
co-chair but will reduce his hours in order to bring on board
part-time Maria Protz of the grassroots Jamaican NGO Friends of the
Sea. He also sought to enlist the three Cartegena Convention for
the Protection and Development of the Marine Environment of the
Wider Caribbean Region (Cartagena Convention) Regional Action
Centers (RACs) to take on the responsibility for guiding the four
thematic groups (Marine Transport, Land-based Sources of Pollution,
Protected Areas, and Sustainable Tourism). These will be able to
coordinate WW2BW with other regional efforts deliver a degree of
secretarial support. Macdonald is uncertain whether existing

SIPDIS
thematic groups would continue.

5. He and Protz recognized the need for local ownership of WW2BW.
Although WW2BW committees no longer meet regularly in many countries
due in part to competing priorities and departure of personnel, they
welcomed continued interest from organizations and private interests
in the region. Macdonald recommended that, in countries where
national WW2BW teams are no longer functioning, an interested
organization be recruited to serve as a focal point - in Bahamas,
for example, the quasi-NGO Bahamas National Trust might be sounded
out. The prospective Friends of WW2BW might help generate private
sector support, and Macdonald and Protz pointed to interest from
major donors like the regional cellphone company Digicel.

6. Protz questioned whether WW2BW had the profile, staff and
contacts to be able to tap deep pockets of major donors with its
current resources. She recommended that WW2BW consider whether it
should invest instead in outreach to small and medium scale

SAN JOSE 00000146 002 OF 004


enterprises, serving as a broker between smaller companies looking
to partner with reputable community-based organizations or NGOS on
issues of common interest. In order to boost its profile, she
recommended that, in the short term, approximately ten kits on WW2BW
(a banner, hand-out materials, and a continuous power point
presentation) be prepared to equip a booth on WW2BW at regional
conferences.

Development Pressures
---------------------

7. Conversations on environmental issues confronting Jamaica
focused on addressing the environmental consequences of development.
This marked a change from REO's prior visit in 2004, which
previously stressed biodiversity - fisheries and coral reefs, forest
policy and invasive species.

8. NEPA officials Winsome Townsend and Sheries Simpson reviewed the
workings of Jamaica's Environmental Impact Assessment process. They
distinguished between its role in land use planning, in which NEPA
shares authority with and supports local government decision-making,
and its role in providing environmental permits, in which it
exercises sole authority. With particular concerns for coastal real
estate development, NEPA intends to integrate risk reduction more
explicitly into its permits processes, with applications to address
risks linked to pollution, hurricanes, and climate change. While
NEPA is confident in the structure of its processes, staffing and
resource limitations contribute to delays. NEPA also encourages
voluntary certification standards:

-- The Blue Flag Program established beach quality standards relied
upon by tour operators;
-- The Green Globe Program certified the environmental management
systems of tourism businesses, particularly hotels; and,
-- NEPA informally works with businesses to develop implementation
plans for operations adjusting to new regulations on water and air
quality.

9. NEPA's partners include capacity building projects with UNDP,
SIDA, IDB and GEF, and the regional International Watershed and
Coastal Resource Management Assessment and Monitoring (IWCRAM).

Changing Priorities for U.S. Assistance
---------------------------------------

10. Reduced U.S. assistance levels and a change in focus from
environment to poverty alleviation affected the range and staffing
of environment-related projects on the island. The projected
second-generation Ridge to Reef program addressing watershed
management, whose first iteration helped inspire WW2BW, was
eliminated. NEPA noted that Blue Flag and Green Globe projects were
successful while AID resources flowed, but met with difficulties
when this flow stopped. The NEPA contacts said that project
beneficiaries expected to be paid for improving environmental
performance even if these changes reduced their costs or positioned
them to tap higher-paying ecotourism opportunities. COMMENT:
Beneficiaries may be contrasting the certainty of costs needed to
maintain green standards with the uncertainty whether sustainable
tourism will in fact boost incomes. END COMMENT.

11. On-going AID projects which incorporated biodiversity
included:

-- Rural Enterprise, Agriculture and Community Tourism (REACT),
which creates alternative sustainable income earning operations in
targeted rural communities that apply sound environmental management
practices to conserve Jamaica's biological and cultural heritage;

-- Farmers Access to Regional Markets (JA FARMS), a network of
growers and market organizations that encourages use of more
efficient production technologies, access to capital and training,
and a wider choice of markets and products; and,

SAN JOSE 00000146 003 OF 004

-- Protected Areas and Rural Enterprise (PARE), which strengthens
the linkage between effective natural resource management and
livelihoods in and around priority conservation sites. Components
include sustainable tourism planning and implementation; threats and
economic costs of natural disasters on rural economy and
biodiversity; and management of targeted agricultural sectors and
businesses that use sustainable, renewable and non-timber forest
products.

12. In addition, AID represents the Mission on Jamaica's two
debt-for-nature swaps, the Environmental Foundation of Jamaica (an
Enterprise of the Americas Initiative fund) and the Tropical Forest
Conservation Act fund. According to Maria Protz of the grassroots
NGO Friends of the Sea, the ECJ provided valuable support for
grassroots organizations but did not (and was not intended to)
ensure the long-term sustainability of community-based organizations
and NGOs. Founded in 2004, the U.S.-Jamaica TFCA issued its first
project call and awarded 10 grants in 2007.

COMMENT: Opportunities for Cooperation
---------------------------------------

13. Building on the well-established history of environmental
engagement between the U.S. and Jamaica, the link between the
environment and key economic sectors like tourism, and the range of
existing funds and programs that incorporate environmental
components, Embassy Kingston might consider a number of
opportunities for promoting engagement on ESTH issues.

-- AID might consider the appointment of EFJ and TFCA alternates to
help bridge gaps in representation and to boost institutional memory
in times of transition, perhaps approaching other U.S. Embassy
agencies to serve in this capacity. Participation of other agencies
that share an interest in the issues under consideration would boost
the prospects that the Mission could leverage EAI/TFCA activities
with tools like the Embassy Science Fellow Program and American
Fellows Program (see below); Earth Day; International Visitor
Program and/or other public affairs initiatives. Peace Corps
participation might bolster the likelihood that their lessons
learned could benefit the funds in their dealing with grassroots
organizations; Public Affairs participation could help ensure that
the Embassy takes advantage of the plethora of grassroots public
affairs opportunities (project launches and closings, for example)
that the funds could provide; or Econ/Pol participation could open
up new grassroots contacts island-wide.

-- The Embassy Science Fellow Program (Ref A) and the American
Fellows Program (www.partners.net) are two means for making U.S.
expertise available to the Funds and their recipient NGO partners;
to government offices like NEPA; and private sector associations.
The first permits missions to request a scientist linked to a
federal agency to work on a project of interest to the Mission for
up to three months. The second permits Western Hemisphere
governments to propose placing a U.S. official in a host government
agency (or vice versa) for up to six months. NEPA flagged the
following themes for such an exchange:

i) bolstering NEPA expertise regarding risk reduction, air quality
monitoring, air and water pollution loading, and analysis of mapping
data;
ii) mapping data analysis and application of earth observation data
to NEPA operations via tools like Google Earth; and
iii) accessing U.S. satellite data in case of hurricanes or other
disasters.

-- Video conferencing is another tool for linking Jamaican and U.S.
scientists and policy-makers. CEP's Franklin Macdonald suggested
using this tool for a briefing on the United States-Mexico-Cuba
effort to study biological and physical aspects of the Gulf of
Mexico and the Gulf Stream.


SAN JOSE 00000146 004 OF 004


-- Mission might consider participating in environment-themed IVs
and VOLVIS programs.

-- While in many instances green issues could be highlighted in the
context of broader cables on themes like energy, mining or
agriculture, the Embassy might consider fuller cables directed at
climate change and adaptation; forestry; and reefs. The last would
be especially timely since 2008 is the Year of the Reef, opening up
public affairs opportunities like Reef-Fest or Earth Day. It could
also position Jamaica to tap a debt for nature swap for a third time
if the U.S. Senate agrees to extend TFCA to reefs.

BRENNAN

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