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Cablegate: Climate Change

VZCZCXRO6930
RR RUEHHM
DE RUEHHI #1228/01 3080902
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 030902Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY HANOI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8681
INFO RUEHHM/AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH 5258
RUEHRC/DEPT OF AGRICULTURE WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC
RUEHC/DEPT OF INTERIOR WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RUEHBK/AMEMBASSY BANGKOK

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HANOI 001228

( C O R R E C T E D C O P Y - ADDED ADDRESSEE)

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/MLS, EAP/EP, OES/EGC, OES/STC
STATE PASS TO USAID FOR ANE, G/ENV, EGAT/ESP (CHIP BARBER)
STATE PASS TO EPA/OIA (DENNIS CUNNINGHAM AND MARK KASMAN)
STATE PASS TO NOAA/NOS/OIA (JONATHAN JUSTI)
USDA FOR FOREST SERVICE/INTERNATIONAL PROGRAMS (CYNTHIA MACKIE AND
KELLI YOUNG)
INTERIOR FOR U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY (GREG SMITH)
BANGKOK PASS TO RDMA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SENV ENRG ECON KGHG VM
SUBJECT: CLIMATE CHANGE

Ref: A. Hanoi 677 B. Hanoi 537

HANOI 00001228 001.2 OF 002


1. (U) Summary: At the October 28 Donor Committee on Climate Change
meeting, the Danish Ambassador detailed Prime Minister Dung's plan
for the roll out of Vietnam's National Target Program to Respond to
Climate Change. Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao
Duc Phat reiterated the seriousness with which the Government of
Vietnam (GVN) views climate change and provided statistics detailing
sea level and temperature increases within Vietnam. Donors
emphasized the need to coordinate Vietnamese responses with global
efforts. End Summary.

Prime Minister Takes Lead in GVN Response
-----------------------------------------

2. (SBU) On October 28, UNDP hosted a meeting of the Donor
Coordination Group on Climate Change to brief representatives from
various Embassies, multilateral organizations, and NGOs about the
status of GVN efforts to address the impacts of climate change.
Danish Ambassador, Peter Hansen, who co-chairs the Donor
Coordination Group with UN Resident Coordinator John Hendra,
provided details of his recent meeting with Prime Minister Dung.
During that meeting, the Prime Minister announced his intention to
release the GVN National Target Program (NTP) as soon as he obtains
Politburo approval - possibly in November. The Politburo continues
to try to balance the roles of the Ministry of Natural Resources and
Environment (MONRE) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural
Development (MARD), both vying for primacy in the GVN response to
climate change. While the Prime Minister assigned MONRE
responsibility for the NTP, MARD has also developed its own climate
change capabilities, making coordination difficult (Ref B).

3. (SBU) According to the Danish Ambassador, the Prime Minister does
not plan to wait for approval from the National Assembly, but wants
to issue the NTP directly from his office to show his commitment to
the issue. Earlier this year, Prime Minister Dung agreed to
personally head the GVN steering committee overseeing the NTP
effort. He also raised this issue during his recent visit to
Washington (Ref A). Once his office has published the NTP, the
Prime Minister will meet in January 2009 with key members of the
National Assembly to review implementation and financing, before
National Assembly consideration of follow up measures at its
scheduled meeting in May 2009.

Agricultural Minister Stresses GVN Coordination . . .
--------------------------------------------- --------

4. (SBU) MARD Minister Phat stated that climate change was
irreversible and that the GVN was firmly committed to working with
the international community to address its impact. Phat agreed that
the GVN needed to raise awareness of climate change throughout
various ministries, including his own. Hoping to diffuse some of
the tensions within the GVN, Phat stated that MONRE was in the best
position to coordinate the GVN climate change response. While
acknowledging friction between MARD and MONRE, Phat stated that he
and the MONRE Minister have established excellent communications
(Note: the Danish Ambassador told Phat that better communications
need to extend to lower level officials as, well).

. . . and Notes Challenges
--------------------------

5. (SBU) Phat then described ongoing impact of climate change in
Vietnam. According to Phat, Vietnam now faces stronger typhoons
during longer storm seasons. Of greater concern, these typhoons,
which historically came ashore in the north or central parts of the
country, now are striking a broader geographical region, including
the heavily populated and intensively farmed Mekong Delta. Phat
stated that over the past 40 years, Vietnam has seen sea level rise
of roughly five centimeters per decade and he expects this pattern
to accelerate in the future. According to MARD statistics taken at
sites throughout the country, average temperatures increased 0.8
degrees Celsius from 1980 to 2007. Other sampling had shown growing
salt water intrusion in Ho Chi Minh City and the Mekong Delta.

Donors Emphasize Need to Plug Vietnam
into Global Efforts

HANOI 00001228 002.2 OF 002


-------------------------------------

6. (SBU) Donors agreed to improve coordination. Representatives
from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the International
Organization for Migration (IOM) highlighted the need to integrate
Vietnamese responses into regional and global programs. IOM noted
that Vietnam already sees a large number of people leaving the
Mekong Delta during flood season to live temporarily in Ho Chi Minh
City. This flow will increase dramatically as sea levels rise,
floods increase, and salt water intrusion intensifies. Noting
Vietnam's position as the world's second largest rice exporter, ADB
emphasized that any shortfalls in Mekong Delta rice-crops (the
Mekong Delta is Vietnam's rice basket) not only threaten domestic
food security, but global rice supplies.

MICHALAK

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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