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Cablegate: Bangladesh Wants Concerted Climate Change

VZCZCXRO1648
PP RUEHAST RUEHBI RUEHCI RUEHDBU RUEHDH RUEHHM RUEHLH RUEHLN RUEHMA
RUEHNEH RUEHPB RUEHPOD RUEHPW RUEHSL RUEHTM RUEHTRO
DE RUEHKA #0942/01 2781032
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 051032Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY DHAKA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9504
INFO RUCNCLS/ALL SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHZN/ENVIRONMENT SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 DHAKA 000942

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR: USAID, SCA/RA, SCA/INS, S/SECC, EEB, OES

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID ECON EAGR SENV SMIG TPHY BG
SUBJECT: BANGLADESH WANTS CONCERTED CLIMATE CHANGE
MITIGATION AND ADAPTATION EFFORTS

REF: DHAKA 350

1. The Government of Bangladesh believes both developed and
developing countries share responsibility for addressing
climate change, according to State Minister for Environment
and Forests Dr. Hasan Mahmud, in a meeting with the
Ambassador. Mahmud praised President Obama's engagement on
climate change and welcomed further U.S. leadership. The
State Minister underscored two goals for the UN Climate
Change Summit in Copenhagen: inclusion of fast-developing
countries in mitigation efforts and allocation of climate
change adaptation funds to maximize their human impact. He
said that India and China needed to adopt emission caps. The
Minister expressed interest in carbon markets and regional
clean energy projects. The USAID Mission Director noted that
USAID is supporting projects to train potential beneficiaries
on carbon credit markets and promote regional energy
integration. With a background in environmental science, Dr.
Mahmud understands climate change issues well and can serve
as a partner for the U.S. on climate change.

TWO KEY CLIMATE CHANGE GOALS
----------------------------

2. In an October 4 meeting with the Ambassador and USAID
Mission Director, State Minister of Environment and Forest
Dr. Hasan Mahmud emphasized the need for developed,
fast-developing and least-developed countries (LDCs) to share
responsibility for addressing climate change. The Minister
praised President Obama's strong statement at the UN Climate
Change Summit and personal engagement on climate change
issues for helping to build momentum in the lead up to
Copenhagen. He noted his positive meeting in September with
U.S. Special Envoy for Climate Change Todd Stern and invited
Stern to visit Bangladesh before Copenhagen.

3. Dr. Mahmud said he was hopeful for a positive outcome in
Copenhagen, citing the increasing level of understanding
about climate change and the growing consensus that concerted
action was necessary. However, he noted two key goals for
negotiation: (1) inclusion of fast-developing countries in
mitigation efforts, and (2) the preparation of an adaptation
package to help least developed countries, such as
Bangladesh, adapt to climate change impacts. Mahmud stressed
that if China and India did not agree to caps on greenhouse
gas emissions, any agreement at Copenhagen would be
meaningless. The Minister argued that adaptation funds should
be allocated to maximize their human impact. As chair of the
50-member grouping of Least Developed Countries (LDCs) at the
Copenhagen summit, Dr. Mahmud said Bangladesh would continue
to emphasize the principle of collective responsibility and
press for robust mitigation and adaptation efforts.

FORESTRY PROJECTS TO TAP CARBON MARKETS
---------------------------------------

4. Minister Mahmud asked whether the U.S. could help
Bangladesh to access carbon markets by training potential
local beneficiaries and helping to attract international
investment. He explained that "ignorance" about carbon
credits was hindering the country's ability to tap into these
markets. The USAID Mission Director noted that USAID,s
Integrated Protected Area Co-management (IPAC) project was
planning a seminar in October-November to bring U.S. Forest
Service specialists to train government, private sector and
civil society stakeholders on how to prepare projects to
access carbon credit markets. The seminar would also cover
technical and policy issues, such as measurement of carbon
sequestration from forests. The IPAC project was also
helping local communities surrounding protected areas to
participate and benefit from forestry projects.

REGIONAL ENERGY INTEGRATION
---------------------------

5. Dr. Mahmud requested help in encouraging international
financial institutions to support regional clean energy
projects in Bhutan and Nepal to supply Bangladesh's energy
market. The Ambassador noted that Indian companies were
developing projects in Bhutan for the north India market
which faced rising demand and considerable shortfall in
generation capacity. He commented that Nepal may hold
greater potential and Bangadeshi involvement there could be
helpful. He also pointed out that USAID,s South Asia
Regional Initiative for Energy (SARI/Energy) project was
promoting regional integration of energy markets, including
gas and power markets.

ADAPTATION TRUST FUND

DHAKA 00000942 002 OF 002


---------------------

6. USAID Mission Director Rollins asked how the GOB planned
to use its $150 million multi-donor trust fund for climate
change adaptation programs. Dr. Mahmud explained that the
government was still working to define how this fund will be
used. They will initially focus on defining immediate and
short-term adaptation priorities but will take more time to
define long-term plans.

COMMENT
-------

7. With a background in environmental science, Dr. Mahmud
understands climate change issues well and can serve as a
partner for the U.S. in climate change negotiations. After
six months as State Minister for Foreign Affairs where he was
an important Mission contact, Dr. Mahmud moved in July 2009
to the Environment Ministry where the portfolio better fits
his expertise. He also served as Prime Minister Hasina's
personal assistant and remains close to the Prime Minister,
who will lead the Bangladeshi delegation to Copenhagen. As
Chair of the LDC grouping in Copenhagen, Bangladesh can
potentially play a constructive role in pressing for shared
responsibility for mitigation and adaptation programs.
Mahmud's categorical assurance that Bangladesh would push to
have the fast-growing developing countries to adopt caps is a
new and important development.
MORIARTY

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