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Cablegate: Biosecurity Engagement Program in Indonesia

VZCZCXRO3748
PP RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHJA #2194/01 3371027
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 021027Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY JAKARTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0867
RUEHPH/CDC ATLANTA GA
INFO RUEAUSA/DEPT OF HHS WASHINGTON DC
RUEAWJB/DOJ WASHDC
RUEHRC/USDA FAS WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 7846

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 JAKARTA 002194

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

DEPT FOR EAP/MTS, G/AIAG, L/DL, EAP/EX, AND OES/IHA
USAID FOR ANE/CLEMENTS AND GH/CARROLL
DEPT ALSO PASS TO HHS/WSTEIGER/MSTLOUIS AND HHS/NIH
DEPT ALSO PASS TO DOJ FOR OFL
GENEVA FOR WHO/HOHMAN
USDA/FAS/OSTA BRANT, ROSENBLUM
USDA/APHIS ANNELLI

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: TBIO EAGR AMGT PGOV ID KLIG
SUBJECT: BIOSECURITY ENGAGEMENT PROGRAM IN INDONESIA

REF: JAKARTA 01409

1. (SBU) Summary. The Biosecurity Engagement Program (BEP) is a
pathogen security program run out of the Bureau of International
Security and Nonproliferation (ISN). BEP Indonesia works with
partner institutions in the Ministries of Health (MOH), Research and
Technology, and Agriculture to support biosafety and biosecurity
capacity building efforts. The Government of Indonesia (GOI) paid
for the construction of BSL-3 labs at all three of these facilities.
BEP supports training, security upgrades and equipment for partner
institutions. BEP is a successful program with good collaboration
from a number of institutions, but a lack of a Memorandum of
Understanding (MOU) and interference from Minister of Health Supari
hamper the program's full effectiveness. Descriptions of BEP
activities by Ministry follow. End Summary

------------------------------------------
Memorandum of Understanding Still Unsigned
------------------------------------------

2. (U) The BEP MOU is a blanket MOU between the State Department and
the Indonesian Department of Foreign Affairs (DEPLU). Implementing
agreements with the Ministries of Health, Agriculture and Research
and Technology would follow a signed agreement. The Ministry of
Health, and Minister Supari in particular, appears to be the lone
hold-out on the agreement, refusing to permit its signature
(REFTEL). DEPLU will not sign without consensus from all three
affected ministries. Approximately $700,000 in project funding has
been held until the MOU is signed. Embassy is working with DEPLU to
try to get the agreement signed within the next two months.

--------------------------------------------- --------
National Institute of Health Research and Development
--------------------------------------------- --------

3. (U) BEP's partner institution in the Ministry of Health is the
National Institute of Health Research and Development (NIHRD, or
"Litbangkes"). NIHRD is the central public health laboratory for
Indonesia. BEP has supported NIHRD staff attendance at biosafety and
biosecurity training courses and conferences in the U.S., as well as
three post-graduate scholarships for Masters degrees at American
Universities. BEP plans to support the development and
implementation of an in-house biosafety and biosecurity training
program in 2009. BEP has also supported expert consultation for the
commissioning of NIHRD's Biosafety Level 3 (BSL-3) lab, development
of standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the lab, and intends to
support select equipment for the lab.

4. (SBU) BEP's existing activities with NIHRD continue, although
hampered somewhat by Ministry of Health policies. BEP is still
supporting the post graduate education for NIHRD's three applicants,
as well as consulting advice on BSL-3 SOPs. Additional planned
projects, such as the support of a Lab Information Management System
staff and equipment purchases, are on hold until the Ministry
softens its policies. Lower level management continues to push for
these projects once political issues subside. Dr. Trihono, NIHRD's
h/XQQQGor, noted recently, "There are politics, but
these are not my politics", an allusion to the Minister's own
nationalistic policies.

------------------------------------------
The Eijkman Institute of Molecular Biology
------------------------------------------

5. (U) BEP's partner institution with the Ministry of Research and
Technology (MINRISTEK) is the Eijkman Institute of Molecular
Biology. Eijkman is the premier institution for R&D in the life
sciences. BEP currently supports salary for BSL-3 staff. In 2009,
BEP plans to support funding for an expert international virologist
to develop a research agenda, train scientists and ensure biosafety
and biosecurity. BEP also supports the BSL-3 lab's ongoing
operations and maintenance through a grant.

6. (SBU) While Eijkman currently falls under MINRISTEK, the MOH
would like to take over control of the Institute. Dr. Sangkot
Marzuki, Director of the Institute, would like Eijkman to become a
separate entity directly reporting into the President's office with

JAKARTA 00002194 002 OF 002


a dotted line to MOH, in order to have independence but also access
Health's funding streams.

7. (SBU) Dr. Marzuki is an ally on science and technology policy,
and provides sound advice to Embassy staff. He is well-connected
politically and socially, and is the recently-elected head of the
Indonesian Academy of Sciences. He hopes to raise both the profile
and the influence of the Academy, to perform the policy advisory
role in the same vein as the American Academy of Sciences. His
constituents have pushed him to combat the MOH's policies
restricting international scientific research collaborations.

---------
BBALITVET
---------

8. (U) BEP partners with the Indonesian Research Centre for
Veterinary Science (Balitvet) in Bogor, the country's central animal
health laboratory. Biosecurity projects include a risk assessment,
comprehensive physical security upgrades, security training and SOP
development. Staff training activities include the REDI Center Train
the Trainer Program in Biosafety and Biosecurity and the BSL-3
Science and Safety Training at Emory University. BEP also provided
assistance with the development and implementation of an in-house
biosafety and biosecurity training program for researchers and
technicians. Lab support includes design consultation and SOP
development for their BSL-2 zoonoses lab, and expert consultation
for design, commissioning and start of operation for a new modular
BSL-3 lab.

9. (SBU) Balitvet has some setbacks with their BSL-3 lab which will
delay its opening to after the deadline of 15 December. The lab
shipped late from its American manufacturer, Certek, and was caught
in a typhoon en route to Indonesia. The full extent of the damage
remains to be seen, but at a minimum two of the outside condensers
need to be replaced. Balitvet leadership have a great deal of
anxiety about this, since they have already received two extensions
from the Ministry of Finance for the completion of this project, and
are under scrutiny by the Attorney General's office. BEP consultants
will put together a plan for the lab's repair and opening once they
get a sense of the damage incurred.

---------------------------------
Disease Investigation Center Labs
---------------------------------

10. (U) BEP partners with the seven Disease Investigation Center
(DIC) laboratories under the Director General of Livestock Services
(DGLS), which also falls under the Ministry of Agriculture. BEP
projects include support of staff attendance at the biosafety and
biosecurity training workshop hosted by Balitvet. Biological safety
cabinet testing and certification are planned for 2009. On-site risk
assessment, along with a broader biosafety and biosecurity training
is also planned for 2009. BEP is also supporting staff education,
with three scholarships for Masters in Veterinary Sciences in
progress, and another 6 planned for 2009. BEP's goal is to support
Masters-level education of one staff member from each of the DICs.
BEP also plans to support reagents and equipment for the DIC labs,
but must delay this support until the MOU is signed and it is
allowed to proceed.

11. (SBU) DIC labs have expressed concern that BEP is unable to
provide equipment and reagents until the MOU has been signed to
grant the tax exemption for these items. BEP staff have restated
their commitment to providing this support as soon as they are able
to do so.

HUME

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