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Cablegate: Ioc Sub-Commission for the Caribbean and Adjacent

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DE RUEHCV #1627/01 3311534
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 261534Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY CARACAS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2190
INFO RUEHWH/WESTERN HEMISPHERIC AFFAIRS DIPL POSTS
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1016
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY
RUMIAAA/HQ USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 CARACAS 001627

SIPDIS

HQ SOUTHCOM ALSO FOR POLAD
TREASURY FOR MMALLOY
COMMERCE FOR 4431/MAC/WH/JLAO
NOAA PASS TO WILLIAM BRENNAN, JACK DUNNIGAN
NSF PASS TO JULIE MORRIS
USUN PASS TO UNESCO
ESTH-LAC

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON MARR PGOV EWWT AORC ICES KRVC SENV TPHY
UNESCO, VE
SUBJECT: IOC SUB-COMMISSION FOR THE CARIBBEAN AND ADJACENT
REGIONS, OCT 22-26 2008

1. (U) SUMMARY: The USDEL to the tenth session of the
Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission's Sub-Commission
for the Caribbean and adjacent regions (IOCARIBE, 22-26
October in Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela) met its primary
objectives: the US was reelected as Vice Chairman for
IOCARIBE; NOAA's proposed project regarding best management
practices for nutrient/sediment reduction in small island
states was adopted; and IOCARIBE adopted a three-year budget
focused on priority programs complementing US science
priorities. While IOCARIBE brainstormed on ways to promote
the 50th Anniversary of IOC in the LAC region, concern over
the relocation of the IOCARIBE Secretary to UNESCO's Kingston
office to undertake additional regional UNESCO
responsibilities raised doubts about IOCARIBE's future. The
USDEL was lead by Bill Proenza, Director of NOAA National
Weather Service's Southern Region, who was accompanied by
representatives of NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service
and National Ocean Service as well as the Department of State
(OES). For further information regarding any of the items in
this report, contact Arthur Paterson, NOAA/NOS,
arthur.e.paterson@noaa.gov. END SUMMARY.

--------------------------------------------- ---------
IOC BUDGET CONSTRAINTS FORCE IOCARIBE MOVE TO KINGSTON
--------------------------------------------- ---------

2. (U) In line with UN policy of decentralization and
consolidation of programs, UNESCO reallocated resources
originally supporting the IOCARIBE Secretariat in Cartegena,
Colombia to a post in the UNESCO office in Kingston.
Sidebars and consultation with USUNESCO indicated that the
"new" post would dilute attention to IOCARIBE matters, since
the post would also service the broader science agenda of
UNESCO in the region. Latin American countries noted their
concern over relocation of services from Colombia, where a
new Global Environment Facility (GEF)-funded large marine
ecosystem contractor team will be located. IOCARIBE adopted
a recommendation calling on IOC and UNESCO to make efforts to
re-establish a full-time UNESCO post for the IOCARIBE
Secretary and urged Member States to advocate for this
position through their Permanent Delegates to UNESCO.

----------------------------------------
IOCARIBE AND IOC's 50th ANNIVERSARY 2010
----------------------------------------

3. (U) The Chair facilitated a discussion session regarding
regional efforts to acknowledge the 50th Anniversary of IOC
in 2010. Some noteworthy initiatives include Venezuela's
offer to host a joint research cruise on board the R/V
GUAIQUERI II in September/October 2009, Cuba's call for
participation in the XII Latin American Congress on Marine
Sciences in October 2009 in Havana, and Brazil's interest in
the establishment of a 50th IOC anniversary fellowship
program. The US should consider ways to collaborate with all
three prospects. (COMMENT: Cuba's invitation brings to mind
the need to facilitate visa processing between our countries.
This facilitation has already been working for well over a
decade during all UN World Meteorological Organization (WMO)
Region IV meetings to assure attendance and participation of
both nations. END COMMENT.)

4. (U) In addition, IOCARIBE agreed to develop a statement to
the 2009 IOC Assembly acknowledging regional commitment to
IOCARIBE. Towards this end, the IOCARIBE officers will
develop a draft statement highlighting the lifesaving and
socio-economic value of data derived from IOC programs and
capacity building efforts. We expect to receive this draft
for review by the end of January.

--------------------------------------------- --
STATUS OF LARGE MARINE ECOSYSTEM (LME) PROGRAMS
--------------------------------------------- --

5. (U) The Caribbean LME (CLME) proposal was approved by the
GEF in April 2008 and will receive funding for program
implementation in 2009. The program places heavy emphasis on
integration of governance systems in the region, developing
linkages from local to national to regional scales. The

CARACAS 00001627 002 OF 003


selection of the Program Manager will be finalized by the
IOCARIBE Secretariat within the month such that work can
commence in January 2009. Member states anticipate that
climate change impacts will be addressed within the program.
Further, since most regional attention has been devoted to
securing CLME funding over the past several years, the
Secretary suggested that new progress can be made in
developing the program for the Pacific LME effort for Central
America.

6. (U) The project document for the Gulf of Mexico LME, which
addresses both US and Mexican interests, is currently under
review. Scientists from the United States and Mexico met via
conference call over the summer to prepare for program
implementation, pending a positive outcome of the proposal
review process. The US and Mexico are participating in a
planning meeting this month for the next State of the Gulf of
Mexico Summit. While there, they will also discuss program
oversight and implementation of each of the three pilot
projects.

--------------------------
HARMFUL ALGAL BLOOMS (HAB)
--------------------------

7. (U) Jose Juis Pena of Mexico has been selected as the new
chair of the IOC Regional HAB Networks Caribbean
Network/"Algas Nocivas en el Caribe y Regiones Adyacentes"
(ANCA). The next ANCA meeting will be held in February or
March of 2009 in Antigua, Guatemala. Planning is underway
for the 2nd Symposium on Harmful Algal Blooms. IOCARIBE
acknowledged the ongoing need for regional collaboration on
monitoring and the regulation of release of ballast water.
Barbados suggested that IOCARIBE must combine efforts among
Spanish-speaking Member States with those of the
English-speaking Member States. USDEL encouraged
participation in the NSF-sponsored young scientist workshop
on Advanced Tropical Phycology (Smithsonian Tropical Research
Institute, 14 August-4 September 2009.

-----------------------------------------
INTEGRATED COASTAL AREA MANAGEMENT (ICAM)
-----------------------------------------

8. (U) IOCARIBE will invest its limited funding in two
projects on coastal erosion and nutrient enrichment: the US
proposal to develop a decision support modeling system for
four small island watersheds to reduce loading of sediment
and nutrients into the near-shore marine environment; and the
Colombian proposal to address coastal erosion challenges in
the region, for which a formal proposal will be presented for
IOCARIBE consideration during the intercessional period. US
identification of bilingual coastal erosion exports to
participate in the program development could help the region
prepare a fundable proposal.

-------------------------------
OCEAN OBSERVATIONS AND SERVICES
-------------------------------

9. (U) IOCARIBE reconfirmed prioritization for tsunami data
management, and Caribbean marine atlas programs, and
acknowledged that their success was dependent on IOCARIBE
collaborations and the support for such collaboration
provided via IOC/UNESCO budget. The IOCARIBE-Global Ocean
Observation System (GOOS) program was similarly endorsed as a
priority, for which the Steering Committee would likely
convene in March 2009. NOAA and the USGS should plan for
some level of technical engagement in this activity.

10. (U) IOCARIBE expressed interest in clarifying the status
of the current tide gauge network. Cuba called for an
updating of the status of the tide gauge network,
acknowledging with appreciation the efforts of the
IOCARIBE-GOOS co-chair, Doug Wilson (US). Venezuela,
Dominican Republic and Jamaica noted plans to install new
tide gauges. USDEL noted collaboration with the Caribbean
Community Climate Change Centre that has received World Bank
funds to enhance the observing network.

CARACAS 00001627 003 OF 003

------------------------------
BUDGET AND PROGRAM PRIORITIES:
------------------------------

11. (U) IOCARIBE adopted a zero growth 2009-2011 budget,
applying $80,000 among ongoing programs (GOOS, LME, ICAM) and
program development (ICAM and HABs). Tsunami and coastal
hazards as well as the Caribbean Marine Atlas will be
supported by a IOC/UNESCO allocation of $65,000 and $5,000
respectively. IOCARIBE's 2009 program is estimated to be USD
$3,457,000 of which $170,500 will be supplied via IOC/UNESCO
and $3,287,000 from extrabudgetary funds, including 1.7
million in GEF funding for CLME and $1 million from as yet to
be identified sources for tsunami.

12. (U) IOCARIBE reviewed existing collaborations with other
regional organizations and announced the signing of a
Memorandum of Agreement between the Comision Permanente del
Pacifico Sur, a regional body addressing the Southeast
Pacific.

-------------------
IOCARIBE LEADERSHIP
-------------------

13. (U) The election of officers reconfirmed the existing
leadership while substituting Jamaica for Barbados as a vice
chair (Cuba remains as chair while US and Venezuela remain as
vice chairs.) Jamaica's addition to the leadership team may
enhance effective engagement of the newly established
IOCARIBE Secretary post in Kingston.

----------------------------
SCIENCE SYMPOSIUM ON TSUNAMI
----------------------------

14. (U) Venezuela hosted a two-day symposium just prior to
the IOCARIBE meeting during which experts from the region
provided remarks to local citizens regarding the assessment
of risk and the critical link between technical and community
preparedness for tsunami events. The theme for the
symposium, The Forgotten Danger ("El Peligro Olvidado") was
taken from the assessment of the tsunami threat to life in
the Caribbean Basin provided by the US head of Delegation,
Bill Proenza, during the 2006 IOCARIBE meeting in Cartagena,
Colombia. During the symposium, Proenza's presentation was
delivered by the IOCARIBE Secretary, Cesar Toro. Among other
speakers was Aurelio Mercado of the University of Puerto Rico
Seismic Research Unit, who provided clear explanation of
technical evidence regarding the threat to the region and the
necessity of international collaboration for observation
networks. A Venezuelan Meteorological Service representative
argued that "there is no such thing as natural disasters, but
there are extreme events with which we must learn to live."
Overall, the large audience seemed quite receptive and
significantly appreciative of this informative event which
will likely stimulate community initiation of their own
preparedness measures.

-------------
NEXT IOCARIBE
-------------

15. (U) The Dominican Republic offered to host the next
IOCARIBE meeting and scientific symposium in the last quarter
of 2010. While several ideas were suggested for the
symposium (Cuba: sustaining ocean observation systems, US:
interface of science and policy, and coastal zone management
problems), IOCARIBE agreed this symposium would be further
developed by the officers in conjunction with the host
country in light of the domestic audience.

CAULFIELD

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