Cablegate: Finland Prepares for Eu Presidency and Csd 14 -

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.





E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Finland Prepares for EU Presidency and CSD 14 -
Spotlight on Energy

1. (SBU) Summary: In preparation for Finland's upcoming
presidency of the EU, OES representatives Jonathan Margolis
and Griffin Thompson visited Finland to discuss areas of
cooperation and to share views on the current cycle of the
UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD). Margolis and
Thompson encouraged bringing education and innovation to the
forefront of Finland's EU agenda. They urged their
counterparts to take a practical and pragmatic approach to
CSD. Margolis and Thompson discovered areas of possible
cooperation on international energy development projects,
perhaps through the Global Village Energy Partnership.
Generally, the Finns responded well to these suggestions,
though they thought that policy (in addition to
implementation) should be a desired outcome of CSD 14. End

2. (U) On October 14-18, Special Representative for
Sustainable Development and OES/PCI Office Director Jonathan
Margolis and Senior Energy Advisor Griffin Thompson visited
Finland. They met with Under-Secretary of State for
Political Affairs Markus Lyra as well as with officials from
the Ministries of Environment, Foreign Affairs and Trade and
Industry. Margolis and Thompson shared their views on US
environmental policy with Finnish journalists. They also
visited central Finland, where they learned more about
Finnish innovation and technology and visited a farm
operated entirely on bio-gas. This visit highlighted the
Finnish domestic strengths of education and innovation and
framed the discussions with the GOF on how these strengths
can guide future international discussions on energy and
development, with specific focus on the CSD energy cycle.

3. (SBU) In their meeting with U/S Lyra, Margolis and
Thompson encouraged bringing education and innovation to the
forefront of Finland's EU agenda--not only through CSD but
through other channels as well, including UNEP, World Bank,
UNDP, bilateral discussions and regional development banks.
Lyra responded favorably, adding that this could also be an
item on the Transatlantic agenda. Nonetheless, while good
humouredly recognizing the EU's over-reliance on directives,
he expressed hope that the US would be "open to discussing
regulations" as well.

4. (SBU) On CSD, Margolis and Thompson urged their MFA and
MOEN colleagues to see CSD 14/15 as an opportunity to
implement existing policy, rather than create additional
guidelines, procedures and documents. In the spirit of UN
reform, the focus should be on actual projects that improve
people's lives. Margolis discussed the US position on the
need to utilize all energy sources including nuclear, coal,
oil, gas and renewable energy. Furthermore he pointed out
how all energy sources are used for specific development
ends ranging from health to education to economic growth and
environmental stewardship. He defined his views on the role
of CSD: raising the profile of issues and bringing together
actors to provide a set of solutions to developing

5. (SBU) The Finns countered with their view that CSD plays
an important role in creating policy and that the
Johannesburg Plan of Implementation required some updating.
Nevertheless, they expressed willingness to work with the US
in aggressively pushing forward energy issues in the current
CSD cycle. They shared information on Finnish energy
efficiency projects in Kenya and Central America, and
mentioned that they would be hosting an international energy
audit conference in September 2006. Margolis encouraged the
GOF to play an active role in EU-JUSCANZ consultations on
CSD issues during their EU presidency, perhaps by hosting a
meeting of respective parties in preparation of CSD-15.

6. (U) The sincerity of Finland's commitment to energy
issues was made clear in a subsequent meeting, when Ministry
of Trade and Industry officials shared details on their
national action plan to promote energy efficiency. The plan,
which is now in its fourteenth year, boasts a (voluntary)
industry participation rate of 85%, and has resulted in
modest yet recognizable (2%) annual energy savings.

7. (SBU) Thompson suggested that Finland's energy projects
in Central America and Kenya may complement the activities
of the Global Village Energy Partnership (GVEP) and
recommended examining if/how these programs could be
integrated. Thompson expressed support for the international
audit conference and said that the US would be willing to
help Finland identify key participants, particularly
promising developing countries with the greatest potential
to benefit from the program. Thompson agreed to discuss this
further with the Finnish delegation at the Beijing
International Renewable Energy Conference on November 7th.

8. (U) Margolis and Thompson met with local representatives
from the press. During the discussion, Margolis articulated
the US energy policy on technology and fuel source
diversity, underscoring the range of successes the US has
demonstrated on energy efficiency programs and lowering
greenhouse gas intensity through smarter technology choices.
At the meeting, and in subsequent discussions, the press
tried to make the linkage between Hurricane Katrina and
climate change. Margolis pointed out, with post's support,
that no climate change expert has made such a connection and
that the USG focus was and has been on humanitarian

9. (SBU) U/S Lyra noted that FM Tuomioja would raise
environmental issues during his meeting with Secretary Rice
on November 1st. Given this emphasis on the importance of
environmental issues in the US-Finnish and perhaps broader
US-Nordic relationship, it seems likely that the issue will
be on the US-EU and the G-8 agendas for some time to come,
and will place high on the agenda of the Finnish EU

10. (SBU) The OES visit was well-timed (as Finland begins
mapping out its presidency agenda) and well-received. Post
believes (as does host government) that additional visits in
the period ahead could be invaluable in furthering mutual
understanding and ensuring a highly-productive and mutually
beneficial presidency term. Finland's commitment to
innovation and its vested interest in efficient and clean
energy technology makes it an ideal potential partner during
the 2006-7 cycle of CSD. In this regard, the timing of its
EU presidency next autumn could not be more fortuitous.


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