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Cablegate: Second Joint Advisory Committee On Agent Orange Dioxin

VZCZCXRO7860
RR RUEHHM
DE RUEHHI #1235/01 1911030
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 101030Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY HANOI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5801
INFO RUEHHM/AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH 3345
RUEHPH/CDC ATLANTA GA
RUEAUSA/DEPT OF HHS WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC//USDP/ISA/AP/ES//
RHMFIUU/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI//J00/J005/J006/J01LA/J06/J5//
RHEHNSC/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HANOI 001235

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/MLS, EAP/EP, EAP/RSP, EAP/PD, OES/PCI
STATE PASS TO USAID FOR ANE, G/ENV
STATE PASS TO EPA/OIA (DENNIS CUNNINGHAM AND MARK KASMAN)
STATE PASS TO EPA/ORD (KEVIN TEICHMAN)
STATE PASS TO OGHA/HHS (STIEGER/VALDEZ/HICKEY)
CDC FOR OGHA (BLOUT/MCCALL) AND NCEH (THOMAS SINKS)
DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE (TSHUBERT AND WVANHOUTEN)
HHS PASS TO FIC/NIH (GLASS) AND NIEHS/NIH (DAVID SCHWARTZ)

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL SENV TBIO KPAO VM
SUBJECT: Second Joint Advisory Committee on Agent Orange Dioxin

1. (U) Summary. Post plans to convene the second Joint Advisory
Committee (JAC) on August 14, 2007, co-hosted by Office 33 of the
Government of Vietnam (GVN). As agreed by the USG and the GVN, the
JAC serves as a technical forum to enhance scientific coordination
and cooperation between the United States and Vietnam on the
environmental and health activities of dioxin. Participation in
this JAC will parallel that of the U.S. delegation to the first
meeting, which was held June 6, 2006. End Summary.

History of JAC
--------------

3. (U) A memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed March 10, 2002 in
Hanoi following the meeting "Vietnam-U.S. Scientific Conference
Joint on Human Health and Environmental Effects of Agent
Orange/Dioxin" led to the establishment of the Joint Advisory
Committee (JAC). The first meeting was held on June 6, 2006 in
Hanoi. That meeting focused on technical exchange for environmental
and health research, but also served to document achievements,
collaborative relationships and potential avenues for progress.
After successfully holding their first meeting, the two sides agreed
that the exchange was useful and should be continued on an annual
basis. The four years that elapsed between the signing of the MOU
and the first JAC was due primarily to the GVN's failure to name
delegation members.

4. (U) Post proposes holding the second annual meeting of the JAC on
August 14. This timing suits the desires of Office 33 and fits the
schedules of several U.S.-based participants, who will be in Hanoi
on other business. All sides anticipate that this meeting will
involve another technical exchange, focused on on-going activities.
Our Vietnamese counterparts understand that the JAC is not a forum
for policy decisions with regard to future USG activities with
regard to the Agent Orange/Dioxin.

Ongoing Technical Exchanges
---------------------------

4. (SBU) A number of other channels for technical exchanges exist in
addition to the JAC. In March 2002, the USG sponsored a conference
in Hanoi (which generated the JAC), bringing together approximately
400 U.S. and Vietnamese scientists to discuss research on the
effects of AO and dioxin on human health and the environment. From
2002 to 2006, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and
EPA implemented a joint project to enhance technical abilities of
GVN scientists, evaluate the extent of dioxin contamination at the
Danang Airport, evaluate low-cost soil sampling, and share
information on remediation technologies for locations where both
sides agree there is a high probability of off-site dioxin
contamination.

5. (SBU) In August 2005, the Department of Defense (DOD) sponsored a
technical workshop entitled "Methods for Stabilizing and Cleaning-up
Dioxin Contaminated Sites." In October 2006 and February 2007,
workshops were held in Hanoi that addressed interdiction strategies
that capitalized on a joint State Department and EPA technical
assistance project in partnership with the Ford Foundation, Ministry
of Defense (MOD) and GVN's Office 33. In April, seven officials
from MOD and Office 33 specializing in chemical engineering and
toxicology participated in a study tour to New York, New Jersey and
Washington DC for meetings with EPA, UNDP, non-governmental
organizations, universities and others. In June, MOD and DOD
co-hosted an exchange of technical information on Operation Ranch
Hand and shared information important for the refinement of a
remediation strategy. That two-day technical workshop was followed
by a State-Office 33 joint scientific workshop highlighting research
undertaken on the ecological fate of dioxin at Elgin Air Force Base,
Florida.

6. (SBU) In August, the EPA will host a "Worker Health and Safety
Training" (classroom and field practicum) for MOD construction
workers and Vietnam Institute for Occupational Health and Personal
Protection (VIOHP). The JAC meeting will be held at the time of
this August workshop, in large part to reduce costs for
Washington-based participants.

7. (SBU) The GVN sees these workshops and the planned JAC in August

HANOI 00001235 002 OF 002


as consistent with the November 2006 Joint Statement of President
George W. Bush and President Nguyen Minh Triet, in which the two
leaders agreed that further joint efforts to address the
environmental contamination near former dioxin storage sites would
make a valuable contribution to the continued development of their
bilateral relationship, and discussions between the two Presidents
in Washington DC in June, 2007.

Draft Agenda and U.S. JAC Membership
------------------------------------

8. (SBU) This draft agenda is in the process of being vetted with
GVN's Office 33 and USG partner agencies (DOD, EPA, HHS, and USAID).


a. Opening Ceremony
b. Brief history of technical cooperation
c. Joint GVN-U.S. technical accomplishments on environment issues
d. Joint GVN-U.S. technical attempts on health issues
e. Establishing overall technical principals
f. Establishing a technical planning framework on environmental
issues
g. Exploring a technical framework on health issues
h. Coordination issues with other partners
i. Next steps
j. Signing of the minutes
k. Press conference

9. (SBU) The U.S. JAC members are

a. Embassy Defense Attach - Colonel Mark Chakwin
b. Embassy Health Attach - Captain Michael Iademarco, USPHS and
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) - Dr. Marie Sweeney,
alternate for this meeting
c. Embassy Environment, Science, Technology, and Health Officer -
Mr. Nathan Sage
d. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) - Dr. Kevin Yale
Teichman, Acting Deputy Assistant Administrator, Office of Research
and Development for Science; and,
e. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)-Dr. Thomas
Sinks, Deputy Director, National Center for Environmental Health and
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

MARINE

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