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Cablegate: Central Americans Renew "Concausa Iii" Push for Climate

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RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSJ #0697/01 2291631
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 171631Z AUG 09
FM AMEMBASSY SAN JOSE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1128
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RHMCSUU/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC
INFO RUCNSJS/SAN JOSE ENVIRONMENTAL HUB COLLECTIVE
RHMFIUU/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL

UNCLAS SAN JOSE 000697

STATE FOR S/ECC - SPECIAL ENVOY STERN
STATE FOR OES DAS REIFSNYDER AND OES/EGC - TALLEY
STATE FOR WHA/EPSC Q ROONEY, DOWDY, AND COLON
STATE FOR WHA/CEN - VANTRUMP
DOE FOR A/S SANDALOW
DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR LAC/RSD/E - DIX

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SENV ENRG KGHG CS
SUBJECT: CENTRAL AMERICANS RENEW "CONCAUSA III" PUSH FOR CLIMATE
COOPERATION WITH U.S.

REF: A. SAN JOSE 0146 B. SAN JOSE 0147

1. (SBU) SUMMARY AND ACTION REQUEST: Central American environment
ministers continue to seek greater U.S. cooperation with the region
on climate change through a revival of the Central American-United
States Joint Declaration ("CONCAUSA") process launched in 1994. As
Costa Rica serves as President Pro Tem of the Central American
Integration System ("SICA"), Costa Rican Foreign Minister Bruno
Stagno Ugarte sent an August 4 letter to Secretary Clinton
requesting USG consideration of signing a "CONCAUSA III" on climate
change and energy at the UN climate change negotiations in December
at Copenhagen. With Central American environment ministers stepping
up their efforts to promote this idea, Post requests Washington's
guidance for a response. Below in para 7 is an unofficial
translation of ForMin Stagno's letter. END SUMMARY.

Centrals Renew Call for "CONCAUSA III"
--------------------------------------

2. (SBU) On July 27, Central American ministers of environment
gathered in Costa Rica to meet as the Central American Commission
for Environment and Development ("CCAD" Q Comision Centroamericano
de Ambiente y Desarrollo). At their concluding dinner meeting,
Costa Rican Minister Jorge Rodriguez and Guatemalan Environment
Minister Luis Ferrate told Regional Environmental Officer (REO) that
ministers had agreed to renew their appeal for greater U.S.
cooperation with the region on climate change by reviving the
"CONCAUSA" process launched originally at the 1994 Summit of the
Americas in Miami. Other CCAD members in attendance included the
new Environment Minister of Belize, the new Vice Minister of
Environment of El Salvador, the new head of Panama's National
Environmental Authority, and assorted staff from the various
ministries and the CCAD Secretariat.

3. (SBU) Ministers Rodriguez and Ferrate were the most vocal
proponents of the "CONCAUSA III" idea. Rodriguez said that other
Central American environment ministers had agreed to prod their
foreign ministry counterparts to send letters to Secretary Clinton
along the lines of that later signed by Costa Rican Foreign Minister
Stagno. Rodriguez and Ferrate stressed the region's hope that the
USG would agree to a "CONCAUSA III" initiative prior to the UN
Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of
Parties (COP) in December at Copenhagen.

4. (SBU) The Central Americans say they want to position the region
as a "green market" where U.S. firms might buy carbon credits in
forested lands, should that possibility be opened up by the UNFCCC
negotiations. Rodriguez and Ferrate also said they hoped that the
U.S. House of Representatives' recent approval of the Waxman-Markey
bill might augur well for a future carbon credits market, as well as
for stronger U.S. engagement on climate change adaptation in the
region. REO cautioned Rodriguez and Ferrate about the obstacles to
reviving CONCAUSA between now and the Copenhagen meeting. REO also
reminded them of the openings for collaboration offered by President
Obama's April 2009 announcement of the "Energy & Climate Partnership
of the Americas" (ECPA). REO further reminded them of potential
partnership opportunities offered through other USG efforts in the
region, such as CAFTA-DR environmental capacity building and
Pathways to Prosperity.

Comment and Action Request
--------------------------

5. (SBU) COMMENT: Although the Central Americans appear interested
in pursuing cooperation under ECPA, they nonetheless remain focused
more on pushing for a "CONCAUSA III" effort specifically for Central
America and also possibly including the Caribbean. The region's
environment ministers are stepping up their lobbying effort and they
have begun prodding their foreign ministry counterparts to elevate
this issue on the region's agenda with the U.S. With Costa Rica
currently chairing the SICA process and hosting a Pathways to
Prosperity ministerial in December, these efforts may well
intensify. In the meantime, the Central Americans remain anxious
for a USG reply. As reported previously (refs A and B), more
focused USG engagement on climate change in the region could help to
counter growing European efforts to shape Latin American and
Caribbean views in the run-up to Copenhagen. END COMMENT.

6. (U) ACTION REQUEST: Post requests Washington's consideration of
the "CONCAUSA III" proposal and guidance in responding to further
inquiries.


7. (U) Below is an unofficial translation of Foreign Minister
Stagno's letter to Secretary Clinton, which Post received on August
11.

BEGIN TEXT OF STAGNO LETTER TO SECRETARY CLINTON

NON-OFFICIAL TRANSLATION
The Ministry of Foreign Relations

San Jose, August 4, 2009

The Honorable
Hillary Clinton
Secretary of State
United States of America
Washington, D.C.

Honorable Ms. Clinton:

In my condition as President Pro Tem of the Central American
Integration System, (known by its Spanish acronyms "SICA"), I take
advantage of this opportunity to manifest the interest of the member
countries of this intergovernmental organization to start a process
of updating the Central America Q United States Joint Declaration
("CONCAUSA"). This Declaration, which was first signed at the
Summit of the Americas held in Miami in 1994 and later modified on
February 2002 during the Administration of the President George W.
Bush, is the instrument that establishes the United States of
America as the first non-regional member of the Central American
Alliance for Sustainable Development (ALIDES).

Taking into account the renewed interest of President Barack Obama's
Administration on topics such as climate change and renewable
energy, as well as the advance in the approval of a specific law in
the House of Representatives of your country, we consider it
convenient for both parties to advance a process of defining themes
and commitments of common interest in the areas of climate change
and energy; commitments that we could sign in the XV Conference of
the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate
Change (UNFCCC), to be held next December in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Trusting that this Central American initiative will be received with
interest by the United States of America, and that we can join
efforts in this common but differentiated responsibility to face the
challenges of mitigation and adaptation to climate change; please
accept the assurances of my highest consideration and esteem.

/S/
Bruno Stagno Ugarte

END TEXT OF STAGNO LETTER TO SECRETARY CLINTON

BRENNAN

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