Cablegate: Embassy Kyiv Proposed Biotech Outreach Strategy


DE RUEHKV #2184/01 3561447
R 221447Z DEC 09




E.O. 12958: N/A


REFS: A. STATE 122732 B. Kyiv 2018

1. (U) Summary. Embassy Kyiv requests $9,509.00 for public outreach
activities to promote a science-based discussion of agricultural
biotechnology in Ukraine. Given wide-spread negative attitudes
towards the use of biotechnology and legislative efforts to restrict
its applications in Ukraine, Embassy Kyiv proposes further
engagement of policymakers, scientists, and journalists. Building
on our program in 2009 (ref B), Post plans to organize a speaker
program that would include conferences, workshops, and media
outreach in Kyiv, Poltava, and Odesa. End summary.

Ukrainian Attitudes towards Biotechnology

2. (U) Public opinion about agricultural biotechnology in Ukraine is
almost unanimously negative, resulting from persistent knowledge
gaps and negative information campaigns. Concerns about the quality
and long-term health implications of products produced with
biotechnology have not been adequately addressed by government
regulators, scientific researchers, or the media. Moreover,
Ukrainian legislators have recently crafted new legislation that, if
adopted, would institute a complete ban on importation and domestic
production of biotech materials in Ukraine.

Proposed Activities

3. (U) In light of the negative attitudes toward biotechnology in
Ukraine and pending legislation to restrict its use, Post proposes
to invite an American speaker to Ukraine to participate in a
conference dedicated to the safety of biotechnologically produced
food products. The speaker would also conduct guest lectures, town
hall meetings, and press events. Ideally, s/he would possess
expertise in human health, genetics, environmental science, plant
varieties, and global market trends.

4. (U) Post envisions a five-day program, anchored by a conference
on the safety of agricultural biotechnology in Kyiv. Other events
would include guest lectures at local universities, town hall
meetings, and press events and would be held in Kyiv, central
Ukraine (Poltava) and southwestern Ukraine (Odesa). [Note: Dr.
Yaroslav Blume, a renowned Ukrainian agricultural biotechnology
expert proposed Dr. Nina Fedoroff, the Science and Technology
Advisor to the U.S. Secretary of State, as a speaker at a conference
on the safety of biotech food products. Post believes that Dr.
Fedoroff would be an ideal participant in the outreach program.]

5. (U) The proposed program would have three focus audiences:

a. The science community represented by students and faculty of
local research institutes and universities. Past biotech outreach
programs have shown the scientific community most receptive to the
concept of biotechnology and interested in science-based discussion.
It is important to foster attitudes which support science-based
approaches within this community. The National Agricultural
University (NAU), with a main campus in Kyiv and satellite campuses
across Ukraine, has indicated its willingness to host events.

b. The journalistic community. Media coverage of biotechnology is
generally negative, reflecting the lack of knowledge of the subject
and dearth of available information. Press events, possibly
including exclusive TV interviews, press conferences, and workshops
for journalists, could aid in educating local journalists about the
science of agricultural biotechnology.

c. Policy makers. Despite their overall negative attitude, it is
important to continue engaging Ukrainian policy makers. Ukrainian
legislators have recently crafted new legislation that, if adopted,
would institute a complete ban on importation and domestic
production of biotech materials in Ukraine. The legislation has
been passed by the Verkhovna Rada (parliament) and awaits the
signature of the President to be adopted into law.

Proposed Budget

6. (U) Post estimates the following costs, in USD:

3,000.00 Roundtrip Airfare, US to Kyiv, Ukraine
300.00 Roundtrip Airfare to Odesa
720.00 Lodging, Kyiv (3 x 240/night)
420.00 Lodging, Other (3 x 140/night)
378.00 M&IE, Kyiv (3 x 126/day)
291.00 M&IE, Other (3 x 97/day)
1000.00 Ground Transportation (within Kyiv, Poltava, and Odesa;
airport transfers, roundtrip transportation from Kyiv to Poltava)
1,400.00 Honorarium for the Speaker
1,500.00 Simultaneous Interpretation
500.00 Interpreter Travel Expenses

7. (U) Post Point of Contact:

Ladislav Beranek
Economic Analyst
U.S. Embassy, Kyiv
Tel. +380.44.490.4031
Fax +380.44.490.4277

8. (U) Post wishes to thank EEB/TPP/MTAA/ABT staff for its ongoing
support of Embassy Kyiv's biotechnology promotion efforts.

© Scoop Media

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