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Cablegate: Fy'08 Regional Environmental Hub Work Plans for Tashkent

VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHNT #2013/01 3270906
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 230906Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY TASHKENT
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8809
INFO RUEHTA/AMEMBASSY ASTANA 9684
RUEHRC/USDA FAS WASHDC
RUEAEPA/HQ EPA WASHDC
RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC
RHMFIUU/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC
RUEHPH/CDC ATLANTA GA

UNCLAS TASHKENT 002013

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR OES/ETC, OES/PCI, OES/STC, SCA/CEN, EUR/ACE, SCA/RA: AGOEL
AID FOR EE/EG/EI: CMITCHELL
USDA/FAS/BIG: JPPASSINO, FAS/TTP: PSHEIKH
DOE FOR NNSA
EPA FOR OFFICE OF INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS
ALMATY FOR AID

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SENV EAID TBIO ECON UZ ZK AF
SUBJECT: FY'08 REGIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL HUB WORK PLANS FOR TASHKENT

REF: STATE 140185

1. Per reftel request, the Central Asian Environment, Science,
Technology, and Health Hub (CA ESTH Hub) submits its projected work
plan for FY 2008.

--------------------
Goals and Objectives
--------------------

2. The CA ESTH Hub endeavors to act as a clearinghouse in support
of Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific
Affairs (OES) and Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs (SCA)
policies relating to ESTH issues in Central Asia and more broadly in
support of USG goals promoting regional stability by fostering
sustainable economic development through encouraging the practice of
environmentally and economically sound practices and policies.

3. In its clearinghouse capacity the Hub works with its constituent
posts in the region, the OES and SCA Bureaus, USAID, USDA, CDC, US
National Park Service, international donor organizations, UN
organizations, the ESTH R&D communities, NGOs, governments in the
region, etc. The Hub devotes particular attention to water issues,
particularly transboundary water sharing issues in the Aral Sea
Basin and related hydropower developments; biodiversity issues such
as ecotourism, protected areas management capacity building and
infrastructure development, land degradation, and desertification;
S&T issues, such as the state of the S&T community in the region,
renewable energy, and management of uranium tailings sites and other
natural disaster preparedness issues; and health-related issues such
as avian influenza preparedness, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis,
environmental health problems in the Aral Sea region, and the state
of public health systems in the region.

4. As the Hub follows issues in these areas, it seeks to identify
program and project areas, as well as researchers, officials,
environmental movement leaders, teachers, experts in various ESTH
fields, etc. which/who are pursuing goals that have the potential,
if achieved, of furthering USG ESTH policies and goals in the
region. The Hub endeavors to identify projects that would promote
transboundary cooperation and regional stability. If the Hub has
identified a project or an individual with an idea for a project
with goals that meet these criteria, the Hub then seeks to garner
support for it from regional governments, donor organizations, etc.


5. In functioning as a clearinghouse for ESTH issues and projects
in the region, the hub has made key priorities: (1) communications
and information sharing and (2) regional outreach.

------------------------
General Resources Needed
------------------------

6. In the spring of 2007, the Regional ESTH Officer's (REO)
reaccreditation was denied and she left Uzbekistan. The
Political/Economic Section has overseen the office in the interim
until an officer is posted to the Hub's new location in Kazakhstan.
The LES Environmental Specialist in Tashkent provides invaluable
institutional memory and works with P/E to plan ESTH's activities.
Without a full-time REO, the ESTH office has reduced its activities,
limiting travel to Uzbekistan and focusing more on Uzbek
environmental issues, especially cross-border issues. With the
arrival of a new REO to his/her new post, as is expected to happen
in 2008, the office should get back to its full capacity and
continue its regional travels.

------------------------------
Regional Programs and Projects
------------------------------

7. As part of the Democracy Grants Commission, the ESTH Tashkent
Office launched its ESTH Small Grants Program on a pilot basis in FY
2007. Five projects that approved by the ESTH Committee: support to
local decision-making on water issues; use of
environmentally-friendly technology for hot water supply; safe waste
disposal; environmental education for rural families; and safe
drinking water for a remote mountain community. The LES is
responsible for overseeing the implementation of these projects.
Tashkent requested additional funding for FY 2008 to continue this

program in Uzbekistan.

8. The Hub will continue its efforts with UNESCO's Center for Water
Law, Policy and Science, and possibly with ADB, to facilitate the
establishment of much needed training-for-trainers and UK-accredited
master's programs in international and national water law and policy
for Tashkent Institute of Irrigation and Land Reclamation
curriculum. The Hub believes that this program will provide
indispensable legal framework sorely lacking for transboundary water
cooperation in Central Asia. As part of overall transboundary water
capacity-building initiative, the Hub will also facilitate
participation of young specialists in the U.S. Tufts University-led
Young Professionals' Forum on Transboundary Waters in Dundee, United
Kingdom. Communication among young water professionals will
encourage stronger networking to build future trust and
understanding on sensitive regional issues.

9. The Hub is looking at opportunities to collaborate with
renewable energy institutions and professionals in Uzbekistan and
Central Asia to support clean energy development initiatives.
Initial assessment of the needs and prospects for renewable energy
development in the region suggests that there is much interest from
local institutions to collaborate with their U.S. counterparts for
capacity building, transfer of ideas and technology, and information
exchange.

10. In addition, the Hub plans to work with the Public Affairs
Section on International Visitor Programs on ESTH-related issues.
Approved programs for FY 2008 program include water resources
management and clean energy and alternative fuel solutions programs
for water and energy professionals, respectively.

11. The Hub submitted a request for an Embassy Science Fellow for
Uzbekistan. If approved for participation, the requested ESF from
the U.S. Department of Agriculture/Agricultural Research Service
laboratory in New Orleans will develop, with relevant Uzbekistan
counterparts, management strategies for the control of Turkestan
termites at the cultural heritage site in Khiva, Uzbekistan.

12. The Hub will continue to work closely with USG agency Central
Asian offices, international funding/donor organizations and UN
agencies. With these partners, we will identify promising
areas/projects further and develop contacts to help promote USG
goals in the region.

----------------------
Calendar of Activities
----------------------

13. Given the absence of an REO, the Hub has reduced its activities
to the most important, pending the arrival of the new officer in
Kazakhstan. The Hub's calendar of activities for the first quarter
FY 2008 is:

November, 2007:
Publish newsletter; disseminate ESTH news; work with UNESCO and ADB
HQ on international water law program for Tashkent Institute of
Irrigation and Land Reclamation.

December, 2007:
Publish newsletter; disseminate ESTH news; review CA Hub web page.

14. During the rest of FY 2008, activities may include: review
Caspian Sea ESTH issues/projects in Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan;
visit Kabul, Afghanistan (which has not been visited since joining
the Hub); schedule visits to unvisited uranium tailings sites in
Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan and sites related to hydropower in
Tajikistan; continue investigating the status of protected areas and
archeological sites; and continue to seek promising approaches to
transboundary land and water issues in Afghanistan, Kazakhstan,
Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

15. The calendar must remain flexible, as Hub experience shows that
major meetings and conferences are often announced with little
notice. In general, the Hub sets aside one week a month for
regional travel, as set out in the communications/outreach plan
section below.

----------------------------
Communications/Outreach Plan
----------------------------

16. In accordance with its communications/information sharing
priority, the CA hub will concentrate on: (1) publishing its monthly
newsletter on Central Asian ESTH initiatives and trends to the
broader environmental community, including relevant USG agencies
(State, USAID, EPA, DOE, CDC, etc.), international financial
institutions, international donor organizations, UN agencies,
environmental NGOs and other interested NGOs operating in the
region, US embassies in the region, environmental journalists, etc.;
(2) continue to upgrade the Central Asian Environmental Hub web page
on the Embassy web site by providing additional information in more
formats and links to other web sites to increase its effectiveness
as a gateway to information about environmental issues in Central
Asia; (3) report via cable and e-mail to USG agencies in Washington
on regional issues; and (4) identify ESTH projects with the
potential to foster sustainable development and stability in the
region that may also promote regional cooperation.

17. The Hub will not schedule regional outreach programs until the
arrival of a new REO.

18. The Hub will make every effort to engage officers handling the
ESTH portfolio at its constituent posts to promote Washington's
policies and priorities on ESTH issues and to make suggestions for
possible regional ESTH initiatives. The Hub is pleased to note that
officers at the Hub's constituent posts have been very cooperative
in working with the Hub to explore ESTH-related issues in their
respective countries, even though all have busy portfolios.

------------------------------------------
Anticipated Training and Capacity Building
------------------------------------------

19. The LES is currently enrolled in the online course
"Introduction to Grants and Cooperative Agreements", which will help
Tashkent effectively monitor its ongoing ESTH small grants projects.
The Hub plans to enroll the LES in "Monitoring Grants and
Cooperative Agreements," to be held at FSI in February 2008.

NORLAND

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