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Cablegate: Undp Seeks U.S. Support for Bsec Projects

VZCZCXRO8414
PP RUEHBW
DE RUEHIT #0263/01 1410746
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 200746Z MAY 08 ZDS
FM AMCONSUL ISTANBUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8168
INFO RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 7688
RUEHTH/AMEMBASSY ATHENS PRIORITY 0861
RUEHKB/AMEMBASSY BAKU PRIORITY 0029
RUEHBW/AMEMBASSY BELGRADE PRIORITY 0002
RUEHBM/AMEMBASSY BUCHAREST PRIORITY 0156
RUEHCH/AMEMBASSY CHISINAU PRIORITY 0058
RUEHKV/AMEMBASSY KYIV PRIORITY 0018
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW PRIORITY 0394
RUEHSF/AMEMBASSY SOFIA PRIORITY 0321
RUEHSI/AMEMBASSY TBILISI PRIORITY 0153
RUEHTI/AMEMBASSY TIRANA PRIORITY 0081
RUEHYE/AMEMBASSY YEREVAN PRIORITY 0093
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ISTANBUL 000263

C O R R E C T E D COPY - ADDING SENSITIVE CAPTION

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECIN PREL TU
SUBJECT: UNDP SEEKS U.S. SUPPORT FOR BSEC PROJECTS

REF: A. ISTANBUL 105
B. 07 ISTANBUL 892
C. 07 ISTANBUL 854

ISTANBUL 00000263 001.2 OF 002


1. (SBU) Summary. UNDP Business Development Advisor Lovita
Ramguttee is seeking USG support for UNDP's on-going business
development work with the organization for Black Sea Economic
Cooperation (BSEC) as well as for possible future
initiatives. She provided background information on UNDP's
on-going work with BSEC as well as new initiatives.
Ramguttee, who is based in BSEC headquarters, stressed the
particular need to engage in capacity building efforts with
the BSEC Permanent International Staff (PERMIS) as a
foundation for engaging in projects with the institution
itself. She also proposed cooperating on a renewable energy
symposium similar to the environmental protection symposium
the USG and BSEC organized in 2007. End Summary

UNDP-BSEC Agreement on Cooperation
----------------------------------

2. (U) Istanbul-based UNDP Black Sea Trade and Investment
Promotion Program Liaison Officer Lovita Ramguttee explained
the formal BSEC-UNDP relationship began in 2007 when UNDP
Administrator Kemal Dervis and the BSEC Secretary General
signed an Agreement on Cooperation between UNDP and BSEC.
Although Ramguttee described the content and focus of the
agreement as "very general," she noted certain areas were
highlighted in the agreement as areas of particular interest
for potential projects to be promoted and implemented jointly
within the Agreement framework. The areas include: poverty
reduction, regional integration, capacity building, good
governance, gender equality, crisis prevention and recovery,
information & communication technology for development,
energy and environment as well as the catchall category other
areas of mutual interest. According to Ramguttee, UNDP is
present in all 12 BSEC member states and is currently
exploring with BSEC further opportunities for regional
projects in the thematic
areas cited above. She highlighted UNDP Assistant
Administrator Kori Udovicki's statement during the April
Council of Foreign Ministers meeting in Kyiv describing the
six priority areas in UNDP's strategy for the Black Sea
region: private sector development, environment, institution
strengthening, trade integration, forging partnerships and
cultural heritage.

Black Sea Trade and Investment Promotion Program (BSTIP)
--------------------------------------------- ----------

3. (U) The Black Sea Trade and Investment Promotion Program
(BSTIP) is a joint initiative co-financed by the Governments
of Turkey and Greece, BSEC and UNDP Ramguttee explained. The
BSTIP program is funded for three years (2007 - 2009) with a
total budget of 1,250,000 euros and covers all 12 BSEC member
states. UNDP has a BSTIP program management office in Athens
as well as a liaison unit located at the BSEC headquarters in
Istanbul. The program aims to expand intra-regional trade
and build investment links in the region. The target
beneficiaries are small and medium enterprises (SMEs), with a
focus on those run by women and your entrepreneurs. The
program is also designed to provide capacity building for
sub-regional/national business support organizations which
are essential partners in the implementation of the program.

4. (U) The BSTIP program includes a series of trade and
investment partnership fora focusing on products and services
for which there is potential intra-regional trade and
attractive investment opportunities. The first partnership
forum, focusing on the packaging sector (Black Sea Pack),
will be hosted in Istanbul by the Istanbul Chamber of
Commerce on June 18-19. This event will bring together SMEs
from the packaging sector from all 12 BSEC member states.
Future seminars on topics including WTO implications and
requirements to access EU markets for specific products are
in the planning stages.

5. (SBU) According to Ramguttee UNDP would be delighted if
the United States could financially assist the BSTIP program
enabling UNDP to expand the scope of the activities (i.e. to

ISTANBUL 00000263 002 OF 002


additional product categories) as well as increasing the
number of SMEs from the region able to participate.

Future Initiatives / Proposals
-----------------------------

6. (SBU) Ramguttee is currently working on two proposals she
hopes outside donors such as the USG would be able to
support. The first is a project that would strengthen the
BSEC project development fund (PDF) mechanism; the second is
a project on renewable energy.

7. (SBU) As noted in previous reporting, the BSEC PDF is
woefully underfunded and not terribly effective (see ref A
for details.) The project Ramguttee envisions would include
a training seminar on project management, technical
assistance for the management and operations of the PDF,
promotion of the PDF through a donor meeting,
professionalizing the PDF website, etc and training on
resource mobilization. Resource mobilization training could
be particularly useful as BSEC is now eligible for official
development assistance from OECD DAC members (ref B).

8. (SBU) The renewable energy project appears to be similar
in audience and scope to the symposium on environmental
protection for economic development jointly carried out by
the USG and BSEC in 2007 (ref C). The goal of this project
would be to raise awareness of alternative sources of energy
in BSEC countries as well as to provide a forum for the
sharing of best practices on renewable energy.

Action Request
-------------

9. (SBU) Throughout our conversation with Ramguttee we
underscored our inability to make any sort of commitment on
behalf of the USG. Ramguttee was well aware of these
constraints but asked that we refer her suggestions to
Washington for comment and consideration. Istanbul requests
guidance on how to respond to UNDP's overture regarding
cooperation with the existing BSTIP program. If Washington
is interested Istanbul could attend all or part of the June
18-19 Black Sea Pack forum and report observations regarding
the seminar itself as well as the experience of the Istanbul
Chamber of Commerce with which we have a close working
relationship. We also request guidance concerning possible
future cooperation with on the two projects briefly outlined
in paras 7 and 8.
OUDKIRK

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