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Cablegate: Meles in Copenhagen: Ethiopia Gives Caveated Approval

VZCZCXRO7067
RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMA RUEHMR RUEHPA RUEHRN RUEHTRO
DE RUEHDS #3026/01 3631141
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 291141Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7282
INFO RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE
RUEPADJ/CJTF HOA
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEKDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEWMFD/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC
RUEHLMC/MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE CORP
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC
RUEHCP/AMEMBASSY COPENHAGEN 0419
RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 0022
RUEHDR/AMEMBASSY DAR ES SALAAM 5692
RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 0009
RUEHLGB/AMEMBASSY KIGALI 1639
RUEHDJ/AMEMBASSY DJIBOUTI 0230
RUEHAE/AMEMBASSY ASMARA 3862
RUEHJB/AMEMBASSY BUJUMBURA 0092
RUEHPL/AMEMBASSY PORT LOUIS 0924
RUEHAN/AMEMBASSY ANTANANARIVO 0159
RUEHKH/AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM 1255

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 ADDIS ABABA 003026

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

DEPARTMENT FOR AF/E-JWYSHAM, OES/PCI LSPERLING, MGERDIN, OES/EGC
AVOCKERODT

E.O. 12958: NA
TAGS: KSCA SENV ETRD PGOV ET
SUBJECT: MELES IN COPENHAGEN: ETHIOPIA GIVES CAVEATED APPROVAL

ADDIS ABAB 00003026 001.2 OF 004


SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED; PROTECT ACCORDINGLY

-------
SUMMARY
-------

1. (SBU) In the aftermath of the December 2009 United Nations
Framework Convention's Fifteenth Conference of the Parties
(COP15) meeting in Copenhagen, Ethiopia has mixed reactions to
the Accord. As Chair of the African Union (AU) Conference of
African Heads of State and Governments on Climate Change
(CAHOSCC), Ethiopian PM Meles was named head of the African
delegation of over 50 countries in August 2009. Meles advanced
an AU continent-wide position in Copenhagen that contained
mitigation, adaptation, and technical transfer components to
mixed reviews back on the continent. Despite criticisms by
civil society and representatives from countries such as Sudan
regarding the issue of adaptation financing, Ethiopian officials
are quick to point out that Meles was sanctioned by African
Union member states to officially represent Africa on climate
change issues. As such, Meles' agreements in Copenhagen are the
official African position regardless of critical statements
emanating from other African officials.

2. (SBU) Civil society and government officials both agree that
Copenhagen put climate change issues on the map by starting a
serious dialogue that is moving in the right direction, with
U.S. engagement alone rendering the conference a success. While
the government of Ethiopia is satisfied with USD 100 billion in
adaptation financing beginning in 2020 that Meles accepted,
civil society felt this figure was too low and not science-
based. Ethiopia's civil society also expressed disappointment
with developed countries' carbon emissions pledges, and would
like to see the U.S. take on a greater leadership role moving
forward. End Summary.

-------------
MIXED REVIEWS
-------------
3. (SBU) The Regional Environment Officer (REO) met with the
Director General Manager (DGM) of the Ethiopia Environmental
Protection Agency (EEPA) Dasalegn Mesfin and the Director of the
civil society organization the Forum for Environment (FfE),
Negusu Aklilu, to discuss the role of the African delegation in
Copenhagen's climate change negotiations and overall perceptions
post-conference. While both agreed that much work needs to be
done regarding mitigating global carbon emissions, there were
mixed reviews regarding the PM Meles' decision to accept climate
change adaptation figures in the amount of $100 billion annually
beginning in 2020.

--------------------
POSITIVE IMPRESSIONS
--------------------
4. (SBU) Both the EEPA Mesfin and FfE Negusu agreed that
Copenhagen placed climate change discussions on the map and that
climate change dialogue is moving in the right direction. Both
said that the mere fact that the USG was actively engaged
renders the UNFCCC a success, with Negusu adding that
negotiations would neither be credible nor valid without U.S.
involvement. Both approached the Copenhagen negotiations from a
practical and realistic standpoint, recognizing political
realities and economic drivers at play, which left neither
disappointed nor surprised by the Accord's outcome. Both
regarded agreement on a two degree temperature reduction
objective and a compromise regarding transparency in reporting
as breakthroughs.

ADDIS ABAB 00003026 002.2 OF 004

5. (SBU) In terms of adaptation financing, EEPA Mesfin noted
that the Africa delegation "got what we asked for (in terms of
adaptation funding amounts), it was the prime focus and they
(developed countries) accepted." Recognizing that $100 billion
annually beginning in 2020 fell far short of some expectations,
Mesfin emphasized that this sum is just a first step. He said
the sum of $100 billion should be positively viewed as a
goodwill gesture that demonstrates the developed countries'
understanding of Africa's plight and that it is a step toward
"reconciling." Negusu, on behalf of the civil society in
Ethiopia, regarded the financing agreement as encouraging but
falling short of Africa's needs.

-------------------------
REMAINING WORK TO BE DONE
-------------------------
6. (SBU) Mitigation: Ethiopia's civil society is disappointed
with country mitigation pledges put forward in Copenhagen.
Negusu's FfE continues to call on the United States to take on a
leadership role and increase its carbon emissions pledge beyond
17 percent. A 2009 International Visitor and Leadership Program
(IVLP) participant to the U.S., Negusu noted that he is aware of
the U.S. political constraints at play. (Note: Negusu said that
he took the time to explain the U.S. legislative system to many
of his colleagues and counterparts at the conference, trying to
help them to better understand the difficulties faced by
President Obama and to help them manage their expectations.
Negusu noted his surprise to find that many thought the
President would drop into the conference, make sweeping
proclamations, and save the conference. End note.). Regardless
of political constraints, Negusu insists that carbon reduction
pledges like the United States' 17 percent are not science based
and will not achieve the two degree objective agreed to in the
Copenhagen Accord. Negusu also attributes other countries'
backtracking from initial pledges of 20-30 percent down to 15-25
percent to a lack of U.S. leadership.

7. (SBU) EEPA Mesfin recognized what he called the Accord's
shortcomings in the carbon emissions category, but noted that
this is a global problem for all countries to address. The fact
that numbers fell short of Africa's expectations, in his
estimation, is not a failure on the part of Meles or the Africa
delegation. Carbon emissions targets are a global challenge for
all nations to confront during ongoing negotiations. Africa
will continue to voice its concerns, asserting a moral pressure
on developed countries, but ultimately, Mesfin says that
resolution will be the responsibility of the U.S., the EU, and
China and other large emerging economies.

8. (SBU) Adaptation: Negusu said that going from zero to a sum
of $100 billion annually beginning in 2020, coupled with a near
term $10 billion figure, is encouraging but not adequate. He
argued that the figures are not science based and are
insufficient to address Africa's mounting needs given that the
funds will be divided among at least thirty countries. Negusu
also said that climate change adaptation funds should be
additional to existing official development assistance (ODA), a
component of the Accord that currently lacks clarity. He also
asserts that adaptation funds for Africa should not be
administered through conventional financial mechanisms such as
the World Bank or GEF because of issues such as lack of
transparency, difficult access, a non-inclusive decision making
process, and high administrative costs. Negusu wants to see
Accord language regarding the Green C Fund made more robust so
that it can take on the role of adaptation funds manager.


ADDIS ABAB 00003026 003.2 OF 004


9. (SBU) EEPA Mesfin repeatedly asserted that the GoE, the AU
CAHOSCC, and Africa in general are happy with the adaptation
financing for Africa decision taken in Copenhagen. According to
Mesfin, this issue is unique for Africa, a top priority, and
Meles was awarded the amount he proposed - an amount the CAHOSCC
agreed to in advance of the conference, that took global
political and economic factors into account. He continued that
as the global financial situation improves, he is certain that
Africa will receive increased support from the international
community. He also noted the important role of the carbon
trading regime, praising efforts taken in Copenhagen to simplify
barriers so as to enable Africa to participate in, and benefit
from, the mechanism. Mesfin thinks that this type of financial
tool is key to unlocking Africa's human potential, linking
development to market demand.

10. (SBU) Regarding criticism that Meles "sold out Africa for
his own country's interests," as reported by some media, Mesfin
advised that this type of reporting be disregarded as misguided,
uninformed, and undisciplined criticism emanating from Sudan and
others. He pointed out that Sudan, as a member of CAHOSCC,
sanctioned Meles to speak for, and negotiate on behalf of, the
continent of Africa. He concluded by saying that "Africa
benefited the most in Copenhagen, we got what we wanted for us."

11. (SBU) Other concerns: Negusu was frustrated by what he sees
as the UNFCCC's lack of transparency in Copenhagen, particularly
given that non-governmental organizations were barred from
participating in conference sessions due to lack of space.
Moreover, Negusu and other civil society representatives were
disappointed by what they viewed as a non-participatory
exercise, alleging that the Accord's final text was ultimately
the product of the United States and four other countries. He
complained of a heavy-handed crowd control police force that did
not showcase developed countries' commitment to freedom of
expression, the right to gather, and respect for the rule of
law. He expressed concerns that the final text of the Accord had
omitted a deadline for establishing a legally binding deal.
While his expectations are low regarding reaching a legally
binding agreement in the near term, Negusu said FfE will
continue its campaign to press for a deal. To date, FfE has
gathered over two million signatures on a petition that calls
upon the USG to take a leadership role in reaching a final
binding agreement.

-------
COMMENT
-------
12. (SBU) Despite media reports that highlight discontent with
the Meles-led delegation to Copenhagen, the general consensus is
one of mild success. Civil society and government officials
alike recognize that significant work needs to be done in the
months and years ahead to ensure the establishment of a robust
international agreement, one they hope will transition from the
present Accord to an internationally legally binding document.
The majority of voices in Ethiopia, both from the government and
civil society, recognize Copenhagen as a first step toward that
end objective. Disappointed by carbon emission pledges and
adaptation financing figures lower than many had hoped, the
positive spin generated to counter negative media is that Africa
asserted its position under Meles and Africa's climate change
challenges were recognized and validated by the international
community in Copenhagen. With climate change issues now on the
table, most in Ethiopia agree that the international community
is moving in the right direction. End Comment.

#MUSHINGI

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