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Cablegate: France Agricultural Biotech Outreach Proposal

VZCZCXYZ0004
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHFR #2328 3591211
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 241211Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY PARIS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5140
INFO RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS 2466

UNCLAS PARIS 002328

STATE FOR EEB/TPP/MTAA/ABT - MARCELLA SZYMANSKI AND JACK BOBO

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAGR ECON TBIO ETRD KPAO FR
SUBJECT: FRANCE AGRICULTURAL BIOTECH OUTREACH PROPOSAL

REF: STATE 129940

1. Economic Minister-Counselor, Agricultural Minister-Counselor,
Public Affairs Minister-Counselor and Science Counselor present this
joint request for support from EEB FY 2009 biotech outreach funds
for critical public outreach in France. France remains an
influential country both in the EU and worldwide, especially in
Francophone developing countries.

2. During its EU presidency, France positioned itself as a leader in
the areas of addressing the global food crisis and climate change.
At the same time, it launched a number of initiatives within the
Council of Environmental Ministers which, if ultimately adopted,
would retard the adoption and trade of genetically-modified products
both within Europe and with some of its trading partners. This
anti-biotech approach is often inconsistent with France's climate
change and international development objectives.

3. The proposed program would be designed to encourage France to
support the adoption of biotechnology in developing countries as a
means for enhancing their food security and their options for
addressing climate change. The program would also de designed to
encourage acceptance of the environmental benefits of biotechnology
by policymakers and consumers in France.

4. The proposed program would build upon the visit of Dr. Martina
Newell under the 2008 Biotech Outreach Program, as well as the
recent biotech travel to the U.S. by Dr. Mark Fellous (head of the
former competent authority on biotech). A number of outreach
activities are envisaged to follow up on the Fellous visit, which
was sponsored by the French America Foundation in partnership with
Public Affairs. It would be ideal if a U.S. speaker under the 2009
Biotech Outreach Program could accompany Dr. Fellous, particularly
to address biotech applications in the developing world.

5. A. Program description: We are requesting a speaker who will
highlight the benefits for developing countries of using biotech
crops for food production and consumption, and address how GM plants
interact with the environment.

B. Time Frame: We are requesting a speaker for three days in Paris.
If available for a longer period, we could develop other programs
outside of Paris. An appropriate time would be the first quarter of
2009.

C. Purpose of the Program: To counterbalance the recent French
negative stance on biotechnology by increasing understanding by
policy makers and the public of how genetically-modified crops can
help address food shortages in the developing world, including their
potential for ameliorating the effects of climate change. The
program would draw the connection between France's environmental and
climate change goals, and the environmental benefits of biotech.

D. Audience: The speakers will give presentations to development
organizations (both governmental and Paris-based NGOs), regulators
(government representatives and Parliamentarians), think tanks, farm
organizations, planting seed associations, the animal feed industry,
agri-food industry and students. The program would have a strong
press component to make a public case for the potential role of GMOs
in addressing climate change and other environmental issues, and as
a tool for helping the developing world increase food production and
consumption.

F. We anticipate the cost of the proposed program to be $4,000.00.

G. (U) NAME AND CONTACT OF PROGRAM OFFICER: Sylvie Vacheret,
Economic Public Affairs Specialist. Tel. 33-1-4312-2928, cell
phone: 33-6-20 35 16 41. E-mail: vacheretsr@state.gov

PEKALA

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