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Cablegate: Vietnam Likely to Associate with Copenhagen Accord but Needs

VZCZCXRO3570
RR RUEHAST RUEHDH RUEHHM RUEHLN RUEHMA RUEHPB RUEHPOD RUEHSL RUEHTM
RUEHTRO
DE RUEHHI #0058/01 0210333
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 210331Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY HANOI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0757
INFO ENVIRONMENT SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COLLECTIVE
RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC
RHMCSUU/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RHMFIUU/HQ EPA WASHINGTON DC
RUEHBK/AMEMBASSY BANGKOK 0186
RUEHC/DEPT OF AGRICULTURE WASHINGTON DC
RUEHHM/AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH CITY 0404
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HANOI 000058

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS
STATE FOR SECC TODD STERN AND JONATHAN PERSHING
STATE FOR OES/EGC (DREW NELSON, RACHEL KASTENBERG, KATE LARSEN)
STATE PASS TO USAID FOR ANE, G/ENV, EGAT/ESP
STATE PASS TO NOAA/NOS/OIA (JONATHAN JUSTI)
STATE PASS TO INTERIOR FOR U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY (GREG SMITH, SUE HASELTINE, STANLEY PONCE, JANINE POWELL)
EPA FOR OIA (MARK KASMAN)
USDA FOR FOREST SERVICE/INTERNATIONAL PROGRAMS (CYNTHIA MACKIE AND ELIZABETH LEBOW)
BANGKOK PASS TO RDMA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SENV ENRG ECON KGHG VM
SUBJECT: VIETNAM LIKELY TO ASSOCIATE WITH COPENHAGEN ACCORD BUT NEEDS
PUSH TO DO IT QUICKLY

REF: 2009 HANOI 1440; 2009 HANOI 1246; 2009 HANOI 670

1.(U) Action Request: See paragraph 7.

2. (SBU) Summary: Ambassador Michalak urged Minister of Natural
Resources and Environment Pham Khoi Nguyen to support Vietnam's
association with the Copenhagen Accord by January 31. Nguyen noted
his support for the Accord and stated that he was preparing
documentation to present to the Prime Minister in support of
association. If the United States prioritizes Vietnamese
association with the Accord, we recommend direct communications
from top U.S. negotiators to the Prime Minister and Minister
Nguyen. Nguyen noted Vietnam's satisfaction with COP-15 and
appreciation for the positive role played by the United States. He
also urged increased U.S. assistance to Vietnam's climate change
response efforts and provided a detailed list of possible projects.
End of Summary.

Minister Nguyen Seeking Prime Minister Approval

to Associate with Copenhagen Accord

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

3. (SBU) On January 20, Ambassador Michalak met with MONRE Minister
Nguyen to urge Vietnam to quickly associate with the Copenhagen
Accord. Earlier this month, the Ambassador had made a similar
request to Deputy Foreign Minister Phan Binh Minh. According to
Nguyen, the GVN negotiating team, including himself, supports the
Copenhagen Accord. MONRE, together with the Ministry of
Agriculture and Rural Development and the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs, are preparing documents for the Prime Minister to advocate
that Vietnam associate with the Copenhagen Accord. Minister Nguyen
will try to get a decision by January 31 (Note: A working level
negotiator earlier told ESTHOff that it was unlikely that the
Government of Vietnam (GVN) could satisfy all internal requirements
to sign before January 31). Minister Nguyen will highlight ongoing
and potential USG climate change support in his communications with
the Prime Minister to help convince him to associate with the
Copenhagen Accord

Vietnam Satisfied with COP-15 Negotiations

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

4. (SBU) Nguyen, who served as the deputy head of the Vietnamese
delegation, felt that the Copenhagen Accord reflected Vietnam's
positions at COP-15. Vietnam is proud of its role in Copenhagen
and Nguyen felt that Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung's speech before
the assembly reflected a harmonization of the positions of
developed and developing nations. Nguyen emphasized that though
Vietnam is a member of the G-77, which he referred to as "the G-77
and China," it maintains an independent voice. Nguyen was pleased
with the U.S. role at Copenhagen, including its interactions with
the Vietnamese delegation. He felt that President Obama's active
participation was critical to achieving the Accord.

Vietnam Requests Additional U.S. Support

HANOI 00000058 002.2 OF 002


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

5. (SBU) Nguyen stated that while the Ambassador came to persuade
him to associate with the Copenhagen Accord, he had come to
persuade the Ambassador to increase U.S. support for Vietnamese
climate change responses. Nguyen noted that we can expect all
high-level GVN interlocutors to raise this issue in meetings with
their U.S. counterparts. Nguyen highlighted the following
priorities for the GVN: assistance for GVN efforts to implement the
National Target Program to Respond to Climate Change; increased
support for the bilateral climate change working group, including
more regular meetings; help for Vietnamese efforts to develop
climate change, weather, and sea level forecasting and warning
systems, along with natural disaster preparation and mitigation;
backing for REDD initiatives; assistance for efforts to save the
Mekong Delta from sea level rise; and support for initiatives to
develop climate change resistant strains of rice.

Ambassador Urges Vietnam to Support New Technologies

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

6. (SBU) Ambassador Michalak noted that Nguyen's list built upon
existing U.S.-Vietnamese cooperation and emphasized the USG desire
to assist Vietnam's climate change responses. While we hope to
expand that cooperation, we need to ensure that the USG coordinates
any support internally and with other donors. Further,
international assistance remains dependent on domestic climate
change legislation. The Ambassador noted that while the United
States would like to assist Vietnam to develop new rice strains,
Vietnam needed to develop legislation that supported such new
technologies, such as biotech.

Action Request: High-Level USG Advocacy

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

7. (SBU) Given the comments from Minister Nguyen, we urge
Washington to send letters to the Prime Minister from Todd Stern
(from head of COP-15 delegation to head of COP-15 delegation) and
from Jonathan Pershing to Minister Nguyen (from deputy head of
COP-15 delegation to deputy head of COP-15 delegation) urging quick
GVN action. We think such correspondence could convince the GVN to
expedite its review process to reach a final (and likely positive)
determination by January 31. Should we move forward with such
correspondence, we recommend that the letters highlight Vietnam's
active and positive role at Copenhagen (the GVN is quite proud of
its participation), recognition of Vietnam's position as one of the
countries that will be most severely affected by sea level rise,
and the strong USG desire to bolster technical cooperation between
the two countries. The letters should include positive references
to any meetings between the two delegations at Copenhagen.
Finally, we suggest language noting that rapid association with the
Accord will be consistent with Vietnam's positions at the COP and
bolster Vietnam's position as a well-regarded voice in the
developing world.
Michalak

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