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Cablegate: Usg Delegation Report On 17th Meeting of the Unesco

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Lucia A Keegan 08/08/2006 09:45:35 AM From DB/Inbox: Lucia A Keegan

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UNCLAS PARIS 05341

SIPDIS
cxparis:
ACTION: UNESCO
INFO: AMBO DCM SCI ECON AMBU AMB POL

DISSEMINATION: UNESCOX
CHARGE: PROG

APPROVED: CHARGE: AKOSS
DRAFTED: SCI: NCOOPER
CLEARED: NONE

VZCZCFRI702
PP RUEHC RUEHGV RUCNDT RUEHZN
DE RUEHFR #5341/01 2191620
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 071620Z AUG 06
FM AMEMBASSY PARIS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0180
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA PRIORITY 2465
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 0852
INFO RUEHZN/ENVIRONMENT SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 PARIS 005341

SIPDIS

FROM USMISSION UNESCO PARIS

STATE FOR IO/UNESCO KEVIN PILZ, OES BARRIE RIPIN, OES/STATS ANDREW
W. REYNOLDS, OES/ETC ELEANORE FOX
STATE FOR NSC GENE WHITNEY
STATE FOR NSF INTERNATIONAL OFFICE
STATE FOR NASA ELIZABETH WILLIAMS
STATE FOR USAID FRANKLIN MOORE, MARY ROWEN, CHIP BARBER, AND MIKE
MCGAHUEY
USAID FOR VERNE SCHNEIDER, GEORGE COAKLEY AND RICHARD CALNAN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: UNESCO KS AORC TSPL EAID KSCI SENV SOCI
SUBJECT: USG Delegation Report on 17th Meeting of the UNESCO
International Hydrology Program (IHP Intergovernmental Council (IGC)
Paris, France - July 3-7, 2006

1. A US delegation participated in the 17th meeting of the UNESCO
International Hydrology Program (IHP) Intergovernmental Council
(IGC) at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, France, July 3-7, 2006. The
delegation consisted of: Mathew C. Larsen, U.S. Geological Survey
(head of delegation), Verne R. Schneider, U.S. Geological Survey;
Robert A. Pietrowsky, U.S. Army Institute for Water Resources; Pat
Brezonik, National Science Foundation; Nancy Cooper, U.S. Mission to
UNESCO, and Louise Oliver, U.S. Ambassador to UNESCO.

2. Delegation Member Roles. Although the U.S. is not a current
member of the 36 Member Nation IGC, the 17th meeting of the IHP IGC
was the second attended by the USG with official observer status and
the first with representation by the newly reconstituted U.S.
National Committee for the IHP.

-M. Larsen (USGS) served as the U.S. principal delegate and
spokesperson throughout the IGC plenary sessions, including the
technical focus on IHP programs relating to sedimentation.

-V. Schneider (USGS) provided operational continuity and
institutional knowledge from previous IGC meetings, and technical
support, while also serving as Dr. Larsen's alternate.

-R. Pietrowsky (USACE IWR) served as an advisor on issues pertaining
to the IHE Delft Category I Center, the ICHARM Category II Center,
the strategic plan of IHP VII, and IHP programs relating to flooding
and integrated water resources management (IWRM). Pat Brezonik (NSF)
served as an advisor for topics related to the strategy for UNESCO
water centers and proposed Category II water centers. As science
officer at the U.S. Mission to UNESCO, Nancy Cooper communicated and
represented the interests of the Mission at the meeting and advised
on the implications of the broader USG goals for UNESCO with regard
to IHP.

3. Objectives. The goals of USG participation in the 17th IGC were
to (a) raise the level of engagement and visibility of the USG in
UNESCO activities, and to (b) meaningfully influence IHP IGC
decisions to better align with USG strategic objectives for UNESCO
in water, natural sciences and engineering. USG objectives include:


a. Building capacity through training/education, and encouraging
sound integrated water resources management in support of
international stability, reconstruction and economic development
with specific focus on "sustainable use and access to safe drinking
water and improved watershed management." This goal is tied to the
MDG to halve by 2015 the percent of people without sustainable
access to safe drinking water.

b. To promote cross-sectoral, interdisciplinary collaboration and
integration of UNESCO natural science and technical programs,
leveraging capacity building, education, and training, and enhancing
scientific and engineering capacities to address the problems of the
natural and manmade world. This goal is aimed at re-directing UNESCO
science programs to emphasize practical engineering applications to
build capacity as means to reduce poverty, improve health and
stimulate development.

c. The incorporation of science and engineering in all UNESCO
programs, especially its education programs. This goal is
fundamental to USG desire to foster a cross-sectoral approach across
various UNESCO programs.

4. Background. The context of the participation of the USG
Delegation, particularly Larsen, Brezonik and Pietrowsky, aligns
with their role on the recently established U.S. National
(International Hydrological Program) IHP Committee. The U.S.
National IHP Committee was established under the auspices of the
U.S. National Commission for UNESCO, a Federal Advisory Body of the
U.S. Department of State. The committee held its inaugural meeting
on 1 May 2006. It includes representation from globally recognized
agencies and other prominent U.S. scientists, including those drawn
from six Federal agencies based on their expertise and interest in
water resources sciences and water management. The six
participating Federal agencies are: the National Aeronautic and
Space Agency; the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric
Administration (Department of Commerce); the National Science
Foundation; the U.S. Agency for International Development; and U.S.
Army Corps of Engineers; and the U.S. Geological Survey (Department
of the Interior).
5. In addition to the Federal members, the Committee includes nine
members representing organizations with expertise in water
resources, including non-governmental organizations (NGOs),
university departments, professional societies/associations, and
trade/industry associations. The water resources specialists from
the nine participating institutions include Dr. James Shuttleworth,
University of Arizona Science and Technology Center for
Sustainability of Semi-Arid Hydrology and Riparian Areas (SAHRA).
6. The function of the U.S. National IHP Committee is to advise the
U.S. National Commission on:
a) Recommendations on U.S. participation in UNESCO IHP, and
assisting upon request in the formulation and review of other UNESCO
international water resources activities;
b) Providing advice on domestic and international activities related
to UNESCO programs that advance research, education, or training in
water resources sciences or the application of water resources
sciences to specific problems;
c) Recommending U.S. programs for participation in the UNESCO IHP;
and
d) Providing advice to organizations involved in U.S. participation
in UNESCO international water resources activities.
7. Focus of 17th IHP IGC Meeting. Key topics addressed during the
IGC meeting included:

a) IHP governance
b) Role of the UNESCO IHE Delft - Institute for Water Education
c) Need for a UNESCO cross-sectoral strategy for water education
d) Proposals for the establishment of new UNESCO water centers, and

e) Strategy for how existing and proposed IHP water centers should
contribute to overall IHP capacity building goals.
f) Reports on current and planned UNECSO IHP programs, including:
Hydrology for Environment, Life and Policy (HELP), Flow Regimes from
International Experimental and Network Data (FRIEND)
g) International Sedimentation Initiative (ISI)
h) International Flood Initiative (IFI)
i) Review of the draft strategic plan for conducting the seventh
phase of IHP. The proposed focus of IHP-VII is on five critical
wide water themes:
i) Implications of Globalization and Climate Change
ii) Integrated Water Resources Mgt. (IWRM) within the Watershed
Context
iii) Water Governance
iv) Environmental Sustainability
v) Water Education

8. Key Interactions. The delegation met with the U.S. Ambassador to
UNESCO Louise Oliver who emphasized to the Delegation the USG
objective of integrating capacity building, education, and
engineering with water in UNESCO's overall science strategy. The
delegation participated in numerous discussions with representatives
of the U.S. Mission to UNESCO, the IHP Secretariat, Group I Member
Nation representatives (Western Europe, U.S., Canada, Turkey and
Israel), the Director of UNESCO-IHE Delft, meetings on the
International Flood Initiative (IFI), IHP Category I and II Centers,
the HELP program, and with other key UNESCO staff. Two delegation
members (Larsen and Schneider) also attended the 8th Kovacs
Colloquium held June 30 - July 1, 2006, which also included a
presentation on Hurricane Katrina by Eugene Stakhiv, USACE IWR.

9. USG Accomplishments and Major Outcomes. The council meeting
included several highly visible USG activities, which, in concert
with active delegation participation during the IGC plenary
sessions, showcased USG engagement. Key USG-related
activities/outcomes included:

a) Professor W. James Shuttleworth, University of Arizona -
Director, Center for Sustainability of Semi-Arid Hydrology and
Riparian Areas (SAHRA), received the prestigious International
Hydrologic Prize at a ceremony held during the IGC. The Prize is
awarded by the International Association of Hydrologic Sciences
(IAHS) for "outstanding contribution to hydrology such as confers on
the candidate universal recognition of their international stature."
Dr. Shuttleworth, who is also a member of the U.S. National IHP
Committee, received the award based on "his innovative,
international leadership over more than thirty years, contributing
to the growth of hydrology into a major discipline of Earth System
Science". A U.S. recipient has received the prize only five times in
the last 25 years.

b) Signing ceremonies were held for two USG Memoranda of
Understanding (MOU's) establishing partnering agreements between the
USACE-IWR and two UNESCO Category II Centers, one with the Japanese
"International Centre for Water Hazard and Flood Risk Management"
(ICHARM) in Tsukuba, and a second with the "Center for Arid and
Semi-Arid Zones in Latin America and the Caribbean" (CAZALAC)
located in Chile.

c) USG nominated candidates were appointed to serve on advisory
boards for two UNESCO IHP Centers:
Robert Pietrowsky, USACE-IWR was appointed as the IHP Group I member
of the Governing Board of the Category I IHE-Delft UNESCO Institute
for Water Education. Eugene Stakhiv was appointed to the advisory
board of the Category II International Centre for Water Hazard and
Flood Risk Management (ICHARM).

d) The USG delegation influenced and impacted a number of activities
that had broader impacts on UNESCO water, science and engineering
objectives. In particular, the Member States stressed the need for
a more results-oriented agenda. To this end, the IGC:

e) Decided to set up a small group (including the IHP Secretary) to
review the IHP water centers and plot a strategy for how these
centers should contribute to overall IHP capacity building goals. At
the insistence of the US Delegation, the panel -- to be named by the
Director General -- will also include two outside independent
experts;

f) Discarded the IHP Secretariat's proposal to set up an unnecessary
bureaucratic layer (i.e., regional intergovernmental councils),
instead asked the Bureau to study other possible governance options.
In particular, the USG delegation worked informally, behind the
scene, with its Group I counterparts to effectively counter a move
that would have committed the IGC at this meeting to establish the
regional councils without appropriate consideration of legal and
financial ramifications; Reinforced the need for greater fiscal
transparency of IHP programs and a stronger link between the IHP
budget and program outcomes and results;

g) In order to ensure continued input of Member States, stopped
short of adopting the strategic plan for the 7th phase of the IHP
program, meant to coincide with the new UNESCO medium-term strategy
(2008-13);

h) Requested the IHP Secretariat to promote cross-sectoral
collaboration among the various programs and organizations involved
in water-related hazard mitigation, with the USACE MOU with ICHARM
and the USG desire to collaborate specifically noted;

i) Launched a new cross-sectoral program on water education for
sustainable development at all levels, in response to the request of
Member States at the IHP Executive Board. A panel will be
established to develop a strategy and guide the work for this
initiative.

j) The delegation (N. Cooper and R. Pietrowsky) met with Richard
Meganck, Director of UNESCO-IHE Delft to discuss (1) strategies for
more closely aligning IHE's strategic goals with UNESCO
cross-sectoral programs on water education for sustainable
development at all levels in accord with the Mid-Term strategy for
the Education Sector, and (2) alternatives to foster IHE access to
UNESCO fellowships across UNESCO education programs as a stimulus to
further USG goals for education and engineering capacity building.


k) The delegation (M. Larsen and V. Schneider) led USG interactions
at multiple IHP Group I meetings, contributing ideas and reinforcing
the Group's strategic and tactical direction where consistent with
USG objectives. Group I Member Nation representatives generally
expressed a welcoming and heightened expectation that the USG return
to UNESCO will stimulate US strategic and technical leadership
within the IHP organization and programs.

l) R. Pietrowsky represented the delegation at the partnership
meeting of the International Flood Initiative (IFI), which
originated as a joint UNESCO-IHP and WMO project. The meeting
focused on activation of the IFI advisory group, including
discussion of the terms of reference for the group and the
relationship of the group with the IFI Secretariat, which is planned
to be housed at ICHARM. A subsequent teleconference with the core
IFI partners was scheduled on/or about 28 Aug 06 to finalize
recommendations to the IHP Secretariat and Bureau with regard to the
IFI advisory group and its terms of reference.

m) The delegation members also attended the IHP meeting on the
results of the 2nd Phase of the World Water Assessment Program
(WWAP) and participated in the Member Nation refinement/discussion
on the upcoming 3rd WWAP Phase.
n) The delegation met with the incoming manager Bisher Imam, of the
Hydrology for the Environment, Life and Policy program (HELP) - Dr.
Bisher Imam was formerly at the Univ. CA, Irvine. HELP is a
crosscutting initiative established in 2001. It aims to approach
IWRM through the creation of a framework for water law and policy
experts, water managers and scientists who work together to solve
water problems. The University of Arizona SAHRA worked with IHP to
establish the HELP strategic plan, and USDA and NOAA scientists have
been involved in HELP. HELP programs have been created in along the
U.S. - Mexico border, the Willamette River Basin and the Lake
Champlain Watershed among others. The delegation agreed to
coordinate with Dr. Imam to schedule a meeting with the U.S.
National IHP Committee to explore the potential for greater US
involvement in HELP.

o) The USG delegation also met with other key IGC participants
towards building and strengthening other strategic relationships,
including those within the IHP Secretariat, the IHP Regional
Hydrologist for Latin America, and National Committee counterparts
in Mexico, Panama, Brazil, Netherlands, Denmark, UK, Australia,
Oman, Namibia, Kenya, Sudan (UNESCO Water Chair), Japan, India,
Nigeria, South Africa and China.

10. Follow-Up Actions:

a) USG to consider hosting an upcoming Group I regional technical
meeting.

b) Need for USG strategy following successful resolution on capacity
building which led to addition of 5th IHP Water Theme on Education,
particularly as related to the critical need to sustain base funding
of UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education.

c) US National Committee strategy for potential consideration of
future USG nomination(s) for UNESCO Category II water centers.

d) Consideration of USG nominee to serve on the IHP task force being
formed to develop strategy for UNESCO's Category I & Category II
Centers per IGC Resolution XVII-2 which called for inclusion of two
independent, internationally recognized water experts to serve on
the task force.

e) US National IHP Committee/National Commission support of USG
strategy to position water (IHP) as a UNESCO priority for funding
commensurate with two current flagship programs, the IOC and World
Heritage. Making IHP a flagship programs might not be appropriate
here, as IHP gets much more regular budget money than IOC.

f) U.S. National IHP Committee meeting with new UNESCO IHP HELP
manager to explore greater US participation in HELP. US to evaluate
additional collaboration between IHE and "network" of IHP Category
II water centers per IGC resolution XVII-4.

g) There is a need for greater real cooperation with other UN
agencies particularly the WMO. The missions of the two agencies are
complementary and there is much more that could be coordinated and
shared especially in the area of education and training.

h) IHP IGC meeting should focus more on the science programs, their
status and direction and the outcomes that were achieved. Koss

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