Cablegate: Window Open Now for S&T in Indonesia


DE RUEHJA #2190/01 3370607
P 020607Z DEC 08




E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: A) Jakarta 1905, B) Jakarta 2025

1. (U) Summary. Post as well as the Government of Indonesia (GOI)
have identified science and technology as a priority area for
long-term engagement. The GOI is especially keen to conclude a
Science and Technology Framework Agreement with the United States as
soon as possible in order to facilitate cooperative science and
technology activities. Post requests Washington's assistance in
three areas: 1) completing the draft text for the S&T Framework
Agreement; 2) providing short term science advisors to Jakarta; and
3) including Indonesia in S&T programs targeted for Muslim
populations. End summary.

Why Science and Technology?

2. (SBU) While cooperation with Indonesia has improved broadly over
the past decade, political stumbling blocks and differing priorities
continue to delay progress on many political, economic and
commercial issues. Science and technology, however, is an area of
strategic importance where U.S. and GOI interests are closely

3. (U) Indonesia, an environmental superpower with critical marine
and jungle biodiversity, is home to major oceanic and tectonic
processes that affect the climate and environment of the entire
world. Protection of these unique resources and investigation of
these processes is critical to understanding and responding to a
host of international challenges, including natural disasters,
climate change, and marine resource depletion. Indonesian President
Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) recognizes Indonesia's importance to
world environmental health, and has demonstrated leadership on
environmental issues, proposing the creation of the Coral Triangle
Initiative (CTI) and preparing to host the World Oceans Conference
(WOC) and first CTI Summit in May 2009.

4. (U) During the past few years, the GOI and USG have recognized
our shared interests and Post has moved to capitalize on
opportunities and support Indonesian leadership on the environment.
The 2006 Natural Hazards MOU and accompanying Implementing
Arrangements for tsunami early-warning technologies and volcano
monitoring systems have set precedents for successful scientific and
technical collaboration between GOI institutions and USG partners.

5. (SBU) These successes on environmental science should be used as
a platform to push for broad science and technology engagement with
Indonesia. Besides the environment, Indonesia is a key country for
understanding and combating public health challenges including
HIV/AIDS and avian influenza. U.S. scientific expertise is highly
respected and provides an important public diplomacy channel for
engaging Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim-majority
nation. Finally, advanced competence and capability in science and
technology will create a more prosperous Indonesia.

6. (U) The first step to advancing this broad S&T partnership will
be the completion of a Science and Technology Framework Agreement.
A broad blanket agreement will negate the necessity to negotiate
separate MOUs for each scientific discipline as is now the case.
Such an agreement would also provide baseline protection for
intellectual property rights and taxation, removing these hurdles
from negotiations on implementing arrangements for specific
projects. Finally, a framework agreement would institutionalize a
mechanism for developing and implementing bilateral cooperative S&T

Why now?

7. (SBU) SBY's interest and personal support for collaboration on
environmental issues, natural hazards, and marine affairs provides a
foundation for securing access for engagement across the full range
of scientific and technological disciplines. Minister of Research
and Technology Kusmayanto Kadiman has specifically raised completion
of an S&T Framework Agreement as a priority for the GOI. (See
Reftel A) However, this high-level support is not guaranteed after
the legislative and presidential elections in 2009.

8. (SBU) Our supporters within GOI institutions are prepared to move
quickly to codify cooperative activities. For example, during a
recent workshop a representative of the State Ministry of Research
and Technology (MINRISTEK) stated that the GOI is awaiting the U.S.
draft for an S&T Framework Agreement and could be prepared to review
for signing by the end of 2008. Such speed is not customary. We
should take advantage of this strong Indonesian interest now in
order to advance U.S. interests in broad scientific engagement.

Post outreach strategy on S&T

9. (U) Outreach to Indonesian legislature: Post has established an
outreach program to key committees of the Indonesian legislature.
In order to alert the Indonesian House of Representatives (DRP) of
upcoming bilateral S&T activities, Post will brief the Chairman and
staffers from the DPR Commission VII (which covers energy, natural
mineral resources, research and technology, and the environment).
This commission is roughly equivalent to the U.S. House Committee on
Science and Technology.

10. (U) Multilateral initiatives: Post is reaching out to local
foreign embassies in Jakarta to identify ways that S&T outreach can
be coordinated more effectively on a multilateral level. In
particular, Post is interested in including Indonesia more fully in
G8 discussions on science and technology. Additionally, Post will
seek to include S&T innovation as a designated area of cooperation
under the Trilateral Security Dialogue with Japan and Australia.

How DC can support?

11. (U) S&T Framework Agreement: Post requests a draft text for the
S&T Framework Agreement, drawing as much as possible from already
agreed language from the U.S.-Indonesia MOU on Natural Hazards.

12. (U) Science Fellow: Post requests Washington's assistance in
securing individuals with science backgrounds for short term
postings (3 months) as resident science advisors in Jakarta. (See
Reftel B) The science advisor will work directly with the
Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) and the Indonesian Academy
of Sciences (AIPI) as well as other relevant government ministries
to assist in long-term planning for U.S.-Indonesian engagement on
science and technology. Additionally, the advisor will track
progress on the S&T Framework Agreement and seek to identify
opportunities for its application with Indonesian counterparts.

13. (SBU) Muslim World Outreach and Science: Post wishes to be
considered for projects designed for outreach to Muslims on S&T,
including the Muslims in Science and Women Leaders in Science
programs. Indonesia is the most populous Muslim-majority nation and
Indonesian interest is very high in U.S. science and technology.
Such programs would support shared goals on advancing science and
research as well as provide exceptional public diplomacy
opportunities for the USG, both within Indonesia and the broader
Muslim community.


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