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Cablegate: Volcano Accord and Request for Expanded Volcano Assistance

VZCZCXRO5879
OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHJA #2252 3500315
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 150315Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY JAKARTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0971
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC
RUEHBK/AMEMBASSY BANGKOK 8580
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 2850
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 5734
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 3407
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 5233
RHHJJPI/USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

UNCLAS JAKARTA 002252

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR OES AND EAP
INTERIOR FOR USGS
USAID FOR ANE, EGAT, OFDA
BANGKOK FOR RDM/A - BILL BERGER


E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAGR EAID KGHG SENV PGOV ID
SUBJECT: VOLCANO ACCORD AND REQUEST FOR EXPANDED VOLCANO ASSISTANCE

1. (U) Summary. The Indonesian Ministry of Energy and Mineral
Resources, Center for Volcanology and Geologic Hazard Mitigation
(CVGHM) held an international symposium in Bandung from November 30
through December 5, 2008 to review progress on volcano hazard
science and risk reduction in Asia. Participants drafted the
Bandung Accord, an agreement for international cooperation in
volcano risk reduction. The accord, which is being circulated by
CVGHM for review, calls on th volcanic nations of the Pacific Rim
to prioritiee their volcanoes for new monitoring and for
multi-lateral cooperation in reducing volcanic risk. During the
meeting, CVGHM Director Surono singled out the United States Volcano
Disaster Assistance Program (VDAP) to assist with the establishment
of modern real-time monitoring of the highest pi(ority volcanoes on
the island of Java, where more than two million people live on the
flanks of active volcanoes. The invitation from Surono is a strong
endorsement of VDAP's ongoing work in Indonesia and a significant
step forward in advancing US-Indonesian scientific cooperation. End
summary.
2. (U) CVGM hosted the 2008 Asian International Symposium on
Modeling of Volcanic Eruption for Volcanic Hazard Assessment.
Participants included representatives from volcano hazards agencies
and universities in Indonesia, Japan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines,
France, Belgium, Italy, Germany, New Zealand, Singapore, and the
United States. Dr. John S. Pallister, Chief of VDAP represented the
United States. (VDAP is a joint program sponsored by USAID-Office
of Foreign Disaster Assistance and the United States Geoglogical
Survey.)

3. (U) Symposium participants drafted the Bandung Accord, an
agreement for international cooperation in volcano risk reduction.
Under the accord, Pacific Rim nations would establish priorities
using methods developed by the US Geological Survey where priorities
are determined by analysis of: 1) relative threat levels, 2) current
monitoring capabilities and knowledge base, and 3) gaps between the
current status of monitoring and optimal levels needed to save lives
and property. The accord calls for participating nations to
coordinate capacity-building projects, provide for exchange of
knowledge and experience, and seek common approaches and methods for
risk reduction. If implemented, the Bandung Accord would also focus
multi-lateral foreign assistance efforts on the most hazardous
volcanoes in developing countries of the Pacific Rim.
4. (U) During the meeting, Surono singled out the USG among donor
countries to assist CVGHM with establishing modern real-time
monitoring of the highest priority volcanoes on the island of Java,
where more than two million people live on the flanks of active
volcanoes. The Embassy has repeatedly heard Indonesian government
officials praise the VDAP North Sulawesi project and VDAP's support
during the eruption of Merapi volcano and the Yogyakarta earthquake
in 2006. In North Sulawesi, VDAP helped build a regional volcano
observatory and has created what CVGHM now describes as the "best
volcano monitoring system in Indonesia." The Embassy believes
expansion of the VDAP program to include activities in Java will not
only better safeguard Indonesians living in close proximity to
volcanoes but will also contribute to a stronger US-Indonesian
scientific partnership.
HUME

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