Cablegate: Usaid Administrator and European Counterparts


DE RUEHMD #0216/01 0571221
R 261221Z FEB 10




E.O. 12958: N/A

This is a combined Embassy Madrid/USAID-USEU cable.


1. (U) USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah, EU Development
Ministers, and EU officials discussed the U.S.-EU
Transatlantic Development Dialogue, Haiti, and related issues
during the EU Development Ministers Informal Meeting on
February 17-18 at La Granja, Spain. In plenary sessions and
in bilateral meetings, Administrator Shah confirmed the USG
commitment to U.S.-EU development partnerships and support
for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). European
development ministers clearly appreciated Administrator
Shah's participation and the USG commitment to the MDGs and
exploring partnership opportunities with the EU and member
states. End Summary.

Breakfast Meeting Targets Food Security and Gender Issues
--------------------------------------------- ------------

2. (U) USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah prefaced his
day-long engagement in the informal meeting of EU Development
Ministers in Segovia, Spain with a wide-ranging breakfast
discussion with Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs Secretary
of State (vice minister) for International Cooperation Soraya
Rodriguez on February 18. Secretary Rodriguez was
accompanied by Elena Madras, Director of the Spanish Agency
for International Cooperation (AECID), Juan Lopez-Doriga,
Director General of Development Policy and Planning for
AECID, Alejandra Del Rio, Chief of Staff for Secretary
Rodriguez, Luis Sanchez-Vellisco, and EU and Multilateral
advisor to Secretary Rodriguez. Administrator Shah was
accompanied by Steven Pierce, USAID Executive Secretary,
Benjamin Hubbard, Special Assistant to the Administrator,
William Anderson, USAID EU representative, and Ari Nathan,
Embassy Madrid Economic Officer.

3. (U) Administrator Shah praised Spain's leadership in food
security. He said the U.S. is committed to the World Bank
Agriculture Trust Fund, and noted that a Spanish report could
serve as an "operational blue print" for the Fund. Secretary
Rodriguez and the Administrator agreed that food security and
gender issues are critical components of the MDGs and on the
need to work together to identify MDGs gaps and highlight
achievements prior to September's UN General Assembly.
Administrator Shah said the MDGs should also incorporate new
science and technology innovations. Secretary Rodriguez and
the Administrator also agreed to exchange information on
Spanish and U.S. programs in Latin America in consideration
of potential bilateral cooperation on hunger and gender

4. (U) Secretary Rodriguez said climate change financing for
mitigation and adaptation in developing countries is
increasingly important. Administrator Shah noted the
importance of forward thinking that integrates climate change
activities across programs and underscored the importance of
weather monitoring and forecasting systems for developing
countries in Africa and South Asia. Secretary Rodriguez
called improved donor coordination in Haiti "critical" and
expressed frustration at Spain's exclusion from the weekly
Haiti donor conference call.

Bilaterals Emphasize Technical/Strategic Cooperation
--------------------------------------------- -------

5. (U) Following the breakfast meeting with Spanish
officials, Dr. Shah had bilateral meetings with Swedish State
Secretary for International Development Joakim Stymne, UK
Minister of State for International Development Gareth
Thomas, Finnish Foreign Trade and Development Minister Paavo
Vayrynen, and EU Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs
accompanied by DG Stefano Manservisi.

6. (U) The meetings with Secretary Stymne and Minister Thomas
covered similar issues. Both agreed on the need for an After
Action Review (AAR) for Haiti. Administrator Shah invited
them to join in an AAR focused on the effectiveness of the UN
cluster system in Haiti, particularly on whether outside
entities should be engaged in areas beyond UN/NGO expertise
such as heavy engineering. In addition, both Secretary
Stymne and Minister Thomas expressed interest in partnering
with the USG on a proposal to expand the role of science and
technology innovations within the MDGs. Administrator Shah
and Minister Thomas expressed a strong interest in partnering

closely on the Global Health Initiative and learning from the
UK's previous work supporting health system investments.
Secretary Stymne also said he would like to link his staff
and USAID counterparts in developing a model information
platform on aid transparency (for example, for health
programs in Tanzania).

7. (SBU) Bilateral meetings with Minister Vayrynen and
Commissioner Piebalgs generally discussed partnership
possibilities. Minister Vayrynen said he helped launch the
Transatlantic Partnership for Sustainable Development in
January 2009 to encourage a strategic U.S.-EU donor alliance.
He explained that the US and EU should work with poor
countries to promote good governance, and to counterbalance
the influence of emerging developing countries who use the
G77 to promote their own national interests. Commissioner
Piebalgs and the Administrator agreed on the importance of
improving food security and maternal health. The
Commissioner called the Administrator's desire to partner
with the EU "music to our ears." Deputy General Manservisi
noted that EU and USAID counterparts needed to look at how to
structure such partnerships.

Plenaries/Lunch Cover Transatlantic Cooperation/Haiti
--------------------------------------------- --------

8. (U) From the bilateral meetings, Dr. Shah moved to plenary
sessions on the Transatlantic Development Dialogue and on
Haiti. Secretary Rodriguez noted that only seven months
remained before the September UN MDGs Summit in New York and
urged Member States to strengthen their commitments and
ensure that the U.S. and the EU work together on the MDGs.
Administrator Shah agreed, and emphasized the USG commitment
to the MDGs by highlighting the Administration's new USD 3.5
billion Food Security Initiative aimed at MDG 1 (poverty and
hunger) as well as the just-announced USD 63 billion Global
Health Initiative aimed at MDGs 4, 5, and 6 (child mortality,
maternal health, and HIV/AIDS and other diseases). He
proposed an emphasis on science, technology and innovation
for the MDGs, and a focus on how the roles of women and girls
are critical in the long-term for democratic governance and
economic growth.

9. (SBU) Development ministers discussed U.S.-EU cooperation
including the importance of food security and agricultural
production, gender equality, the need to consider regional
integration in Africa, engagement with emerging donors, and
the challenges involved in filling the remaining gaps for
achieving the MDGs. Belgian and French representatives
questioned whether statements on U.S.-EU partnership would be
followed by actions, and said that the experience at the
Copenhagen climate change conference was not reassuring on
this point.

10. (U) In the plenary session on Haiti Edmond Mulet, the
Secretary General's Special Representative in Haiti and Head
of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti, gave a
presentation on the range of relief, political, and security
challenges faced by the international community and the
government of Haiti. Mr. Mulet emphasized the importance of;
a UN-coordinated effort unified across sectors; a long-term
partnership with Haitians including transparency and
accountability, and; the March 31 Haiti donors conference.
Participants at the session and the following lunch discussed
USG and EU work in Haiti, noting that the EU had coordinated
its response at three levels: within the Commission, within
the EU, and within the UN (under the cluster system).
Administrator Shah emphasized the USG's active participation
in the UN cluster system, and complimented the UN's ability
to stand up the system in the face of extreme human and
material losses. Still, he suggested that the capabilities
of UN clusters may require expansion in heavy engineering

Press Focused on Haiti

11. (U) Administrator Shah met with a reporter from Spain's
most popular radio station to discuss Haiti. The
Administrator emphasized the importance of continued
partnership and offered examples of successful coordination.
The Administrator had a second media encounter during the
press conference directly following the ministerial plenary
sessions in which he emphasized that U.S. relief efforts in
the country are following the UN lead and are in close
partnership with the Haitian government.


12. (U) European development ministers clearly appreciated
Administrator Shah's participation -- one minister called it
the reason he "decided to attend the conference" -- and the
USG commitment to the MDGs and exploring partnership
opportunities with the EU and member states. Still, it is
important that concrete follow-up activities progress,
particularly if there is to be a follow-up U.S.-EU
development meeting in April as Secretary Rodriguez
suggested. Areas for such activities could include:

-- U.S.-GOS partnership in Latin America (possibly hunger and
gender issues in Guatemala);

-- U.S.-EU joint MDG effort prior to the September conference
to identify and fill gaps (for example, maternal
mortality), highlight achievements, and incorporate science
and technology innovations into the MDGs;

-- Joint AAR on UN cluster system performance in Haiti;

-- Partnership (Sweden, UK, possibly others) on development
assistance transparency (for example, in health
programs in Tanzania);

-- Identification of climate change actions (in specific
countries) that demonstrate serious intent to meet
Copenhagen commitments, and;

-- General bilateral and multilateral cooperation in food
security, health and gender issues.

© Scoop Media

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