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Cablegate: China's Growing Role at Rome-Based Un Food and Agriculture

VZCZCXRO4219
PP RUEHRN
DE RUEHRN #0028/01 0571248
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P R 261248Z FEB 10
FM USMISSION UN ROME
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1309
INFO RUEHKH/AMEMBASSY USAID
RUEHRC/USDA FAS WASHDC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHINGTON DC
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 0053
RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 0050
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS 0335
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 0398
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 0107
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 0067
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0492
RUEHRN/USMISSION UN ROME 1387

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 UN ROME 000028

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON EAGR EAID UN CH
SUBJECT: CHINA'S GROWING ROLE AT ROME-BASED UN FOOD AND AGRICULTURE
AGENCIES

REF: A. STATE 01052
B. USUN ROME 11

1. (U) This message is sensitive but unclassified. Not for
dissemination outside the U.S. Government.

2. (SBU) Summary: In response to Ref A request for information
on China's emerging role in Africa, USUN Rome notes that in
recent years China has increased its contribution to, and
influence at, the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) as it
works to ensure its own food security and shore up relationships
within its region and among developing states. Beyond assuming
a larger assessed financial role at FAO, China has partnered
with the agency to deliver technical agricultural assistance
programs, training, and small equipment primarily to Africa.
China is also assuming a growing stature at the World Food
Program and the International Fund for Agricultural Development
(Rome's other two UN agencies) as well as with Bioversity
International (Rome representative of the Consultative Group on
International Agricultural Research). Reflecting its emerging
role at FAO, China will again represent Asia in FAO's Finance
Committee, and, a Chinese national - formerly Assistant Director
General for FAO's regional office in Bangkok - was recently
chosen to fill a newly-created Deputy Director General for
Operations position. Looking forward, at the Rome-based UN
agencies, China will likely continue to quietly increase its
stature and influence within the organizations while attempting
to maintain its "developing country" status. End summary.

China's Involvement with Rome's UN Agencies

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

3. (U) China's assessed contributions to the FAO have risen as
its economy has expanded, increasing from 1.5 percent of the
total budget in 2003 to 2.7 percent in 2009, with future
increases projected in the 2012-2013 biennium. China is now the
ninth largest contributor to the regular program, behind Canada
and Spain. For comparison, the U.S. and Japan combined
contribute 38.7 percent of the regular budget. Similarly,
China's voluntary contributions to the WFP have more than
tripled during the same six-year time period. In 2003, China
contributed USD 1.25 million; in 2009, USD 3.06 million, making
China the 36th largest donor to WFP.

4. (U) Long before the increase in contributions, China was
engaging in well-publicized multilateral programs with FAO and
WFP. For example, in 1996 FAO created the South-South
Cooperation (SSCI) Initiative through which developing nations
provide technical assistance to each other as part of the
Special Program for Food Security (SPFS). China, whose
representatives regularly point to its success in economic
development and poverty reduction, is one of the largest donors
to this initiative. We understand that Chinese experts sent to
Nigeria from 2003 to 2007 through the SSCI were highly
influential in the development and implementation of that
country's National Program for Food Security.

5. (U) China is also heavily involved in the work of Bioversity
International (BI), the research center in Rome representing the
CGIAR. Bioversity's website prominently features its
involvement in China, particularly in research on biological
diversity and nutrition. At present, though small, China's
contribution to BI's annual budget is one half that of the
United States. BI also has several resident staff in Beijing
and in provincial governments in the south, looking to enhance
China's ability to mitigate risks associated with plant
diseases, crop failures, and nutrition.

6. (U) At IFAD (International Fund for Agricultural Research) -
a hybrid UN agency and development bank - during the most recent

UN ROME 00000028 002 OF 003


(8th) replenishment totaling USD 1.2 billion, China contributed
USD 22 million dollars, as compared to the USG's commitment of
USD 90 million. Japan provided USD 60 million, while India
provided USD 25 million, Switzerland provided USD 20 million,
and Nigeria USD 15 million. China sits on IFAD's 36-member
Executive Board as well as the Executive Board's Audit
Committee. At the Board, China is reasonably active, mainly
speaking about its own experience as an IFAD borrower. China is
one of IFAD's biggest borrowers, with IFAD providing project
assistance mainly in China's remote and mountainous regions.

China in Africa

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

7. (SBU) Not surprisingly, China's aid delivered via the
Rome-based UN Food Agencies is principally targeted at Africa.
In 2008, China sent over 500 of its experts in irrigation,
agronomy, livestock, fisheries, and post-harvest handling to
specific countries in Africa. China also transferred
agricultural technology to African farmers as part of
"South-South" cooperative programs, including formal
partnerships with Gabon, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Ghana,
Mauritania, Ethiopia, and Mali. In one of its most visible
actions in Rome, in March 2009 China announced a USD 30 million
trust fund in partnership with FAO to foster agricultural
advancement in Africa (although other regions will not be
excluded). According to the agreement, China will provide USD
10 million per year over a three-year period to deliver
technical agricultural assistance programs, training, and small
equipment primarily, although not exclusively, to Africa.

FAO Taps Chinese Talent for Top Post

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

8. (SBU) At FAO's Conference in November 2009, Mr. He Changchui,
a Chinese national, was appointed to the newly created position
of Deputy Director-General for Operations. Previously FAO
Assistant Director General and Regional Representative for Asia
and the Pacific for six years, Mr. He holds a PhD degree in
Physical Geography and has published papers and reports in the
areas of environment and natural resources management, land use
and land cover studies, remote sensing and GIS applications, and
regional and national capacity building. He is considered a
capable manager, and someone the Director General believes can
help deliver on approved plans to decentralize additional
responsibilities for projects and administration to regional
offices. While China is technically under-represented among
professional staff based on assessed contributions to FAO, He's
selection will no doubt strengthen ties between FAO and Beijing
(see also ref B).

China's Development Role: Help or Hindrance?

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

9. (SBU) It remains to be seen whether China's development
priorities in Africa and elsewhere will be complementary or
competitive vis-a-vis U.S. work on agricultural development and
food security. It is encouraging that in our multilateral work
at FAO China wishes to avoid overlap and conflict with the U.S.
It stands to reason that their development agenda can be
synchronized with the G-20 and others who are working to
increase agricultural sustainability in the developing world.
We will continue to work with Chinese colleagues to find areas
of mutual cooperation on food security issues. There may also
be further areas for cooperation with China in WFP and IFAD

UN ROME 00000028 003 OF 003


project development, co-financing, and governance.
GloverMP

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