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Cablegate: Vietnam Response On Partnering for Global Hunger and Food

VZCZCXRO1115
RR RUEHRN
DE RUEHHI #1156 3011158
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 281158Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY HANOI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0379
INFO RUEHRN/USMISSION UN ROME 0001

UNCLAS HANOI 001156

SIPDIS
STATE PASS TO FAS/OGA AND FAS/OCBD

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAGR EAID ETRD
SUBJECT: VIETNAM RESPONSE ON PARTNERING FOR GLOBAL HUNGER AND FOOD
SECURITY

REF: 09 STATE 107298

1. (U) Summary. U.S. Embassy Hanoi officers met with officials
from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and Agriculture and
Rural Development (MARD) on Tuesday, October 27, to gauge the
Ministries' initial reaction and response to Secretary of State
Clinton's letter and proposal, "Partnering for Food Security:
Moving Forward." Although the Government of Vietnam (GVN)
officials were not prepared to offer concrete proposals at the
meeting, they seemed engaged and asked questions that underscored
genuine interest in how to adopt the proposal and make it work for
Vietnam. The meeting concluded with GVN officials promising to
send any follow-on food security questions or proposals to the
Embassy. End Summary.

2. (U) Discussing food security, GVN officials focused on the many
risks to Vietnam's critical rice crops, including: extreme weather,
climate change, poor crop storage facilities, foreign agricultural
protectionism and price stability. GVN officials also suggested
that, in addition to feeding its citizens, food security included
maintaining Vietnam's position as a food exporter, specifically
including rice. The officials stated that Vietnam was already
helping other countries with their food security needs, providing
technical expertise on rice production to a number of countries,
including Cuba, Venezuela and South Africa.

3. (U) GVN officials also acknowledged that the impact of climate
change on the Mekong River Delta (MRD) could dramatically affect
Vietnam's food security needs. GVN officials agreed that Vietnam's
agricultural sector was hugely dependent on the MRD and would be at
a significant disadvantage if access to the MRD was impeded by
rising levels of salination, pollution, or by other countries.
Embassy officers suggested that the GVN's concerns regarding the
MRD might present opportunities to partner with other countries in
the MRD in developing a food security proposal that would benefit
not only Vietnam, but the whole region.

4. (U) GVN officials encouraged USG to become a donor for
"South-South" development cooperation and inquired where the
funding for any food security proposals would come from.
Specifically, they asked about the mechanisms for allocation of the
$20 billion dollars pledged at the G-8-plus meeting in L'Aquila,
Italy. Embassy officers noted that both funding and allocation
would likely hinge on the proposals tabled by various countries in
response to the Secretary's proposal, and encouraged the GVN to
consider programs with a regional context that leveraged
multilateral institutions. The meeting ended with GVN officials
promising to send to the Embassy any proposals developed by the GVN
for next month's World Food Security Summit in Rome, Italy.
Michalak

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