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Cablegate: January Regional Environment Newsletter, East Africa

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 13 ADDIS ABABA 000297

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

DEPARTMENT FOR AF/E-JWIEGERT,OES/PCI-MGERDIN,OES/STC-
TBURNS,OES/SAT-FECHAVARRIA,EEB/IFD/OMA-JWINKL ER AND EEB/CBA-
DWINSTEAD

DEPARTMENT PASS TO USAID JEFF HUMBER

USTDA KATHRYN DORMINEY

DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC FOR ITA MARIA RIVERO

DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC FOR REBECCA KLEIN

DEPT OF ENERGY FOR TSPERL

E.O. 12958: NA

TAGS: KSCA SENV ENRG ETRD PGOV ECON ET

SUBJECT: JANUARY REGIONAL ENVIRONMENT NEWSLETTER, EAST AFRICA

ADDIS ABAB 00000297 001.2 OF 013


-------
SUMMARY
-------
1. (SBU) Summary: The Regional Environment Officer (REO) spent much

of January 2010 on the road. Thanks to Dovie Holland in Madagascar

for a busy 10-day orientation visit complete with informative
meetings and field visits. REO and the Regional Environment
Assistant (REA) also travelled to Cairo to attend a Science and
Technology Outreach Workshop hosted by the Office of Naval
Research-
Global and the Naval Medical Research Unit-3, coming away with an
expanded database of S&T contacts and partnership ideas. On the
margins of the meeting, REO met with Egyptian officials at the
Ministry of Water who noted an willingness to delay the next
Nile-COM
meeting beyond March 2010 if the US and/or donor countries needed
more time to conduct diplomatic efforts to avert an NBI split.
After
a failed "charm campaign," Egyptians may consider the idea of a
joint
Ethiopia-Egypt political declaration.

2. (U) Back in Ethiopia, the African AU Summit took place January
31-
February 2, with Ethiopian Prime Minister praised for his role in
Copenhagen and he was re-elected to carry-on as the African
continent's lead negotiator. Meles proposed the establishment of a

high level panel to monitor development countries' financial
commitments. USAID held a Global Climate Change (GCC) and Food
Security strategy workshop February 1-5 in Nairobi to roll out the
President's FY 2011 Budget Request. REO attended the GCC portion,
with a readout provided in paragraph 13-16. Ethiopia continues to
send mixed signals on its geothermal sector while Kenya moves full
steam ahead. To view a copy of the REO newsletter online, visit our

intranet site: http://addisababa.state.gov/REO_Newsletter/
default.asp?fname=2009. End summary.

-----------------------------------
EAST AFRICA ALTERNATIVE ENERGY BUZZ
-----------------------------------
3. (U) Ethiopia-Japanese Geothermal Workshop: Aluto Langano
Expansion: Regional Environment Specialist (RES) attended a half-day

geothermal workshop in Addis on January 21, 2010. Participants
included the Energy Minister and the State Energy Minister, the
Japanese Ambassador to Ethiopia and staff, Energy Ministry

ADDIS ABAB 00000297 002.2 OF 013


officials,
representatives of GTZ and the World Bank, and several other GoE
agencies. The focus of the meeting was a presentation study results

carried out by a Japanese firm, West Japan Engineering Consultants
(West JEC). Several speakers were also featured, including the
Energy Minister, the Japanese Ambassador, a Nairobi-based Japanese
External Trade Organization (JETRO) official, and representatives
from the Ethiopia Electric Power Corporation (EEPCo), Geological
Survey of Ethiopia (GSE) and Ethiopian Electric Agency (EEA), the
regulator.

4. (U) According to Ethiopia's Energy Minister Alemayehu, Ethiopia's

installed energy capacity will reach 2000 MW in few months time and

his ministry's objective is to raise that capacity to 10,000 MW in
the coming years. Alemayehu said that geothermal energy exploration

is at an advanced stage at the Aluto and Tendaho sites. He also
quoted the country's renewable energy potential to be 60,000 MW, and

expressed his agency's interest in making geothermal energy a
reliable and clean energy source in the country's planned energy
mix.
The Japanese Ambassador complimented the GOE on its overall
development endeavor (roads, schools, etc., based on observation
during his travel to various parts of the country) and the
achievement in the hydro-power sub-sector in particular. The JETRO
representative expressed his pleasure for having sponsored the
Aluto-
Langano expansion study.

5. (U) Summarizing the results of the one year study, the West JEC
representative told the audience that based on analysis of data
collected over the years and that of their current assessment, the
Aluto-Langano Geothermal site is both technically and economically
feasible to be developed. Aluto is located in an area where cracks

on the earth's crest are spreading. These structures allow the hot
fluid to travel to the surface where it can be tapped. There is
heat,
there is water, and there are fractures; the three important
elements
necessary to develop geothermal power. Moreover, manifestations at
the surface indicate that the water is coming in contact with the
hot
rocks.

6. (U) According to West JEC, the economically optimal amount of

ADDIS ABAB 00000297 003.2 OF 013


power that could be developed sustainably at the Aluto site, based
on
the currently available data, is 35 MW. That is in addition to the
currently running pilot plant of 7 MW, giving a total of 42 MW for
Aluto. (Note: GSE at various times has been giving estimates
ranging
from 50 to 75 MW for Aluto. End Note.) West JEC also proposed a more

simplified technology from the existing binary (complex technology)

plant for the new 35 MW power plant, which would be built on a 150m
X
150 land area. The cost estimate for the new plant was put at
$198.79
million with a foreign currency component of 85%. It was also noted

that project costs could be brought down if GSE's two drilling rigs

would be available for drilling. According to West JEC, the next
steps will include appraisal drilling to complete the half
constructed production model (note that West JEC could not come up
with a fully completed production model due to lack of historical
data on the pressure status of the operational wells) followed by
design and construction. According to RES' discussion with the
Director of GSE, the Japanese have agreed to finance those next step

actions. The Ethio-Japanese agreement on the Aluto Expansion was
signed in 2008 and the consultants have been engaged since 2009.

7. (U) EEPCO, GSE, and EEA briefed the meeting participants on their

respective plans for the development and management of Ethiopia's
renewable energy sources. In particular, the EEPCO presenter stated

that the country's current generation capacity is 2100 MW;
currently,
3967 towns are electrified; his company has 1.87 million customers
(with 350,000 customers being added every year); EEPCO operates
9,000
Km of transmission lines; and electricity demand is growing at 25%
per annum. The EEPCo presenter also cited that currently industry
is
the number one power consumer in the country, and by 2015, the
country's total installed capacity would grow to 6352 MW. To satisfy

the growing demand, EEPCO plans to produce more than 10,000 MW of
electricity in the next ten years, at a cost of approximately 120
billion Birr to realize that plan. Regarding financing mechanisms,
Ethiopia government representatives pointed out that the GoE
preference is to pursue least-cost financing methods.

ADDIS ABAB 00000297 004.2 OF 013

---------------
ACROSS ETHIOPIA
---------------
8. (U) African Union Summit ESTH Highlights: The 14th Ordinary
Session of African Heads of State and Government was held January
31-
February 2 at the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa,
Ethiopia
under the theme "Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in

Africa: Challenges and Prospects for Development." The Summit
Declaration reinforced a commitment to the "catalyzing role of
information and communications technology in the development and
integration process in Africa," adding that ICT is a driving force
for the overall development of the continent. The newly elected AU

Chairperson, Malawian President Dr. Bingu Wa Mutherika, stressed the

need to focus on agriculture and food security, stating in his
closing remarks that "no child in Africa dies of hunger and
malnutrition anymore." For AU climate change updates, see paragraph

29-30. For detailed reporting on the full Summit, along with
readouts of G U/S Otero and AF A/S Carson meetings, see cables from

the bilateral mission and the U.S. Mission to the African Union.


9. (U) Green Planet LLC Seeks Partners: Regional Environment
Assistant (REA) met with a member of the Green Planet Group LLC that

was in Addis Ababa for the African Union Summit. Green PlanetGroup

LLC has launched a sales effort throughout Africa which seeks to
bring new solar technologies to the marketplace and assist rural
communities. GPG partners with a range of solar technology
providers
in the areas of lightening and water purification to provide its
technology offerings. One such partner is World Water Solar
Technologies the producer of Mobile Max Pure a solar powered, stand

alone system designed pump, filter and purify water. The company
claims the system can provision an average of 30,000 gallons of
clean
drinking water each day from lakes, rivers, wells or other water
sources, with as little as five hours of daily sun exposure and can

be set up in less than half an hour. The system can filter both
fresh and salt water. GPG and its lightening partners donated a 150

ADDIS ABAB 00000297 005.2 OF 013

solar lights to Haiti relief efforts. The current goal of the GPG is

to sell lighting and water systems to local communities through
federal governments assistance. The estimated cost of the fresh
water purification system is $120,000 and salt water is $150,000.

-------------
WATER MATTERS
-------------
10. (U) Nile Basin Initiative, Countdown to Nile-COM: NBI
negotiations have stalled over the issue of water security;
downstream riparians (Egypt and Sudan) want protection of current
uses and rights; upstream nations want to abrogate existing
agreements. A split between upstream and downstream countries looms

on the horizon, with upstream nations expressing a willingness to
approve the Cooperative Framework Agreement (CFA) at the next Nile
Council of Ministers (Nile-COM) meeting tentatively scheduled for
March 2010, even if that means moving forward without Egypt and
Sudan.

11. (SBU) U.S. Embassy Cairo officer Todd Watkins and REO for
eastern
Africa met Dr. Abdel Fattah Metawie and Ambassador Mohamed
Rakik Khalil (MFA advisor at the water ministry) in Cairo on January

19, to discuss the status of the Nile Basin Initiative
(NBI). According to Egyptian officials, Egypt has done everything it

can, short of changing its position on current uses and rights, to
negotiate a means to avoid a split, from financial incentives (trade

agreements, project assistance) to providing expertise (loaning
hydrologists and engineers to the region). The next Nile-COM has
been postponed and is now tentatively scheduled to meet the first
week of April 2009.

12. (SBU) A political declaration by Egyptian President Mubarak and

Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles asserting support for an accord could

be an appropriate temporary solution at this time to avert an NBI
split. Egyptians have expressed tentative interest in this route;
discussions in Washington and in Africa on this subject are
ongoing.

----------------------
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
----------------------

ADDIS ABAB 00000297 006.2 OF 013


13. (U) Interagency Synergies: S&T and Climate Change: REO attended
a
USAID regional Global Climate Change (GCC) strategy workshop in
Nairobi, Kenya, February 1-2. During the course of the meeting,
three areas for S&T engagement in eastern Africa emerged that have
potential GCC linkages. The big three: Energy sector enabling
environment technical assistance and policy guidance (referencing a

Kenyan model), waste management with clean energy technology
(Mauritius model, UNEP, EPA, or DoD expertise), and remote sensing
technology.

14. (U) Energy Sector Reform: While Ethiopia, and much of eastern
Africa, has a high potential in energy for carbon markets, they
suffer from weak enabling environments. Given the regions' severe
energy shortages and growing needs, it is imperative to take every
opportunity when engaging host-country energy sector counterparts to

press the urgency for energy sector reforms, using Kenya's
geothermal
sector as a model. With countries increasingly associating with the

Copenhagen Accord, complying with the objective to provide $100
billion annually beginning in 2020 to the countries most vulnerable

to climate change will be an issue of much future discussion. Given

that a country's contribution to this figure can include private
sector investment, it becomes increasingly evident that the time is

now to encourage eastern African governments to improve their
countries' energy sector business and investment climates. U.S.
private sector investment in eastern Africa's vast, yet virtually
untapped, geothermal resources alone could prove massive if much
needed investment-friendly reforms devised are passed. The GCC clean

energy component of USAID funding should focus on helping
governments
devise strategies to create enabling environments that will attract

large-scale energy sector investment in clean energy along the model

of KENGEN in Kenya.


15. (U) Waste Management: In the meantime, opportunities exist for
S&T outreach in waste management, with direct linkages to clean
energy development. Using a Mauritius model, and capitalizing on
DoD's or UNEP's expertise (currently working with Comoros on waste
management), GCC funding could be used to support S&T partnerships

ADDIS ABAB 00000297 007.2 OF 013


to
confront a largely overlooked waste management problem throughout
eastern Africa. Engagement in this area would have positive health

and environmental implications in addition to generating clean
energy.

16. (U) Remote Sensing: REDD+ criteria currently requires that
participating countries need to have updated forestry inventories,
yet most of eastern Africa lacks this data and lacks sufficient
capacity to collect the updated information. During the course of
my
REO travels through the region, I have repeatedly fielded requests
for technical assistance and capacity building in remote sensing,
satellite imagery, and geographic information systems (GIS). From
government officials in water, energy, and forestry ministries, to
universities and parastatal research facilities and wildlife
authorities and meteorological institutes, science and technology
remote sensing needs are both real and high.

17. (U) REO Joins DoD in Cairo for S&T Africa Outreach Workshop: REO

and REA attended a Science and Technology (S&T) workshop in Cairo,
Egypt January 19-22. The workshop was co-hosted by the Office of
Naval Research-Global Division and the Navy Medical Research Unit-3

based in Cairo. It brought together participants from National
Institute of Health, the National Science Foundation, Africom,
Department of State, and several branches of the U.S. military. The

workshop was designed to bring together researchers, scientists, and

policy advocates to develop a vision and focus for partnering,
collaborating, and coordinating on science and technology outreach
efforts in North Africa, the Middle East, and Sub-Saharan Africa.


18. (U) REO presented to the group, outlining the REO function, our

mission and objectives, and highlighting areas for establishing
partnerships both in eastern Africa and in the North Africa and
Middle East region. The workshop was an exploratory exercise,
designed to examine current local capacity with an eye toward
identifying potential value added partnerships. The intent was for

everyone to leave the conference with ideas for collaboration. From

the REO perspective, the networking opportunity with this highly
specialized group of scientists was invaluable. REO will follow up


ADDIS ABAB 00000297 008.2 OF 013


with ONR-G regarding maritime tracking software that governments
could use to track illegal fishing vessels in their waters. A
common
complaint of resource-strapped governments is that they are not even

aware of the extent of illegal fishing given poor monitoring
capabilities. REO also emphasized waste management opportunities.

------------------------------
AROUND THE REGION - MADAGASCAR
------------------------------
19. (U) Orientation Visit: NGOs Hang on in Madagascar: REO and REA
traveled to Madagascar for a 10-day orientation visit January 6-14,

2010. The visit included meetings in Antananarivo with a variety of

international conservation non-governmental organizations (NGOs)
such
as Conservation International, World Wildlife Federation, World
Conservation Society, and CARE. We were briefed by USAID regarding

the suspension of their environment program (see page 7) and by
representatives from the World Bank who stated that while no new
environment/conservation programs would be approved in Madagascar
due
to the ongoing political crises, projects in the pipeline would not

be suspended.

20. (U) In addition to NGOs, the World Bank, and USAID, we met with

staff from the environmental offices of the two main mining
operations in Madagascar, Ambatovy and Rio Tinto's QMM. Both went
into extensive detail regarding their environmental impact
assessments and mitigation strategies to minimize adverse
environmental degradation in relation to their companies' mining
activities. They noted they were continuing to operate in spite of
the political crisis, filling gaps left by suspended NGO programs.


21. (U) We also incorporated two site visits in the trip, one in
Andasibe to tour a Conservation International land restoration and a

nursery project site, and the other site visit to Antahala to meet
with the local prosecutor office in a region heavily impacted by
illegal rosewood logging. We rounded out the visit by having a
discussion with Peace Corps Acting Director Leif Davenport. Leif
spent a few months in Ethiopia to help Peace Corps Ethiopia develop
a
new Environment Volunteer program and had much to offer in the way

ADDIS ABAB 00000297 009.2 OF 013


of
comparisons between Ethiopia's Parks and Madagascar's Park 15 years

ago. REA will look to Madagascar as a model as he continues to
liaise with the Ethiopia Wildlife Conservation Authority.

22. (SBU) The conservation NGOs expressed disappointment with the
suspension of USAID's environment program. While they understood
the
need to send a message to political actors in Madagascar, they
unanimously argued that a withdraw would place the country's 15-year

conservation efforts in jeopardy and create a vacuum that would
allow
illegal logging to expand and flourish, to the benefit of the cash-
strapped acting government. The NGOs said they could continue the
majority of their operations without USAID's assistance, but they
noted the locally-based Malagassy NGOs would suffer. We saw an
example of this in Andasibe, where two nurseries were consolidated
into one for financial reasons, resulting in a considerable loss of

seedlings.


23. (SBU) The destabilizing effect of Madagascar's political
insecurity seemed particularly unfortunate given that the
development
community appeared to enjoy an impressive level of coordination
among
the NGOs. The NGO's in Madagascar seemed to achieve donor harmony,
with the groups agreeing to target specified regions and then focus

their NGOs' efforts in their areas of particular expertise within
that region. A common theme was the importance of community based
development and alternative livelihoods in regard to sustainable
conservation.

24. (U) Political Uncertainty in Madagascar Amplifies Environmental

Degradation: Madagascar is recognized as one of the world's leading

biodiversity hotspots. It boasts 25 families of species that exist

only the island nation, it has over 12,000 species of plants, 363
species of reptiles, 238 species of amphibians, 283 species of
birds,
and 165 species of fish. Most famously Madagascar is home to 99
species of lemur that can be found nowhere else on earth.
Madagascar's richness of flora and fauna, however, does not insulate


ADDIS ABAB 00000297 010.2 OF 013


it from political realities. In fact Madagascar's current political

crisis has fueled even greater natural resource degradation and
exploitation. The instability of the country's government, which
culminated with a military-coup in Jan 2009 that removed President
Marc Ravalonana from power and installed the current president and
head of the High Transitional Authority Andry Rajoelina, has lead to

greater unchecked plunder of the countries natural resources.

25. (U) Madagascar has traditionally faced threats to it unique
biodiversity through habit loss, which has and continues to occur
from unsustainable subsistence practices such as slash-and-burn
agriculture, charcoal production, hunting and fishing. Many of
these
threats were and are being addressed by an active coalition of
international NGOs such as Wildlife Conservation Society,
Conservation International and World Wildlife Fund. USAID's
environmental program has historically planned and integral role in

the environmental planning and implementation of the countries
protected areas system.

26. (SBU) Natural resources are inevitably placed at risk during
political turmoil. The political fallout in Madagascar during 2009

and the early part of 2010 has resulted in its wildlife and flora
suffering to an unprecedented extent. From January to April 2009, it

is estimated that over 500 containers of illegal harvested exotic
woods were exported and bound for China, with least 200 more
containers waiting to be exported. The collection and export of
illegally harvested exotic timber continues almost unabated with
continue decrees from the transitional government that appear to
provide legal cover for what is illegal activity. There is
speculation that much of the funds recovered by the government in
fines and other levies from the illegal activity are being used to
fund the current regime. The current political crisis creates an
interesting dynamic in which to address the issue of illegal logging

which is not only impacting the livelihoods of the Malagasy people,

but threatening the viability of a globally significant areas of
biodiversity.

27. (U) A coalition of international NGOs continue to publicize the

issues, but a lack of bi-lateral engagement at the highest
government
levels creates a limited number opportunities to pressure the

ADDIS ABAB 00000297 011.2 OF 013


transitional government. Under the current political situation, in
order to comply with the Lacey Act, USAID has been forced to suspend

all non-humanitarian funding and in turn has closed its environment

office. The World Bank is able to continue is current project work

which will run for the next months, but has halted their planning
and
budgeting process for future environment programs.

28. (U) While the international community seems limited in its
ability to respond, it has brought about unprecedented activity from

Malagasy civil society. Alliance Voahary Gasy, a coalition of 29
Malagasy civil society organizations, is suing the transitional
government in an effort to stop the exportation of the illegal
timber. While the prospects of success for the lawsuit are very
low,
the individuals making up the alliance are willing to assume
personal
risk in order to press the importance of the issue. For the latest
reporting coming from U.S. Embassy Antananarivo, see ANTANANARI
00000053.

--------------
CLIMATE CHANGE
--------------
29. (U) Positive Climate for Meles at AU Summit: The 14th AU Summit

concluded this week in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, during which
Ethiopia's
Prime Minister Meles Zenawi presented a report to the Summit on
February 1 regarding the negotiation and the outcome of the
Copenhagen Climate Conference, given his role of Head of the African

Delegation in Copenhagen. African leaders expressed their
appreciation to Meles for his "outstanding contribution to safeguard

and maximize the benefits and interests of Africa," acknowledging
that he had faced tough challenges negotiating with many
stakeholders. Given the positive response, Meles was re-elected to

represent Africa as chief negotiator in the next climate change
conference in Mexico in 2010 and South Africa in 2012. The Summit
also endorsed the Copenhagen Accord and it was stated that each
member state should report its consent individually for the UN
Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

30. (U) During the AU Summit, Meles proposed the establishment of a

ADDIS ABAB 00000297 012.2 OF 013

high level panel to deal with the implementation of the Copenhagen

climate summit recommendations, where the international community
pledged to give billions of dollars to mitigate the impact of
climate
change. While holding discussions with the UN Secretary General, Ban

Ki-moon, Meles said that the panel will help mobilize funds and
technical support to Africa, which many countries promised to extend

to Africa to tackle the impact of climate change on the
continent. Meles noted in a meeting with U/S Otero that US President

Obama had expressed support for such a panel.


------------
BIODIVERSITY
------------
31. (U) Regional Environment Officer (REO) and Regional Environment

Assistant (REA) Ira Hersh met with Dr. Kifle Argaw, Director of the

Ethiopia Wildlife Conservation Authority (EWCA), and Dr. Ludwig
Sieg,
Chief Technical Advisor on a GTZ-GEF EWCA capacity building project

on Thursday, February 4, 2010, to discuss Ethiopia's positions
regarding the CITES CoP 15 USG Proposals. Dr. Kifle noted that
Ethiopia's position is still under formulation, but that
traditionally Ethiopia generally does not take a position on issues

that do not impact the country. It is therefore likely that Ethiopia

will ultimately take a neutral (abstention) or CITES position
regarding the shark, coral, polar bear and bobcat proposals. Dr.
Sieg, a German national and conservation consultant with an
extensive
background in CITES, mentioned as an aside that it his understanding

that Germany will support the two proposals to list six shark
species
in Appendix II.

32. (U) Dr. Kifle took the opportunity of the REO and REA visit to

highlight Ethiopia's position on Elephants, a position that matches

the Elephant Coalition Proposal. With a population of approximately

ADDIS ABAB 00000297 013.2 OF 013

1,000 elephants residing on Ethiopian territory, and additional
migratory populations crossing borders with Sudan, Ethiopia sees
this
as their primary focus at CoP 15 in Qatar. Dr. Kifle emphasized
that
Ethiopia supports the 9 year moratorium on ivory sales and does not

wish to see this opened for discussion. If it is opened, Ethiopia
supports the Kenya-backed Proposal six.

33. (U) Dr. Kifle and Dr. Sieg invited the REO office to an
international fund raising conference tentatively scheduled to take

place in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia, February 18, 2010. The objective of
the conference will be to raise funds to facilitate the safeguarding

of the UNESCO World Heritage Simien Mountain National Park and its
flagship species that include the Walia ibex and the Ethiopia wolf,

while also securing the livelihoods of more than 500 area households

that are may be relocated from within the parks borders to
alternative areas.
-------------------
REO UPCOMING TRAVEL
-------------------
34. (U) The Regional Environment Office for eastern Africa will
remain in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia during the month of February due to

an OIG visit. The Regional Environment Assistant (REA) is planning a

tour of a few key Ethiopia National Parks in March/April; Regional
Environment Office (REO) will attend the next Nile-COM meeting in
Egypt tentatively scheduled for March but perhaps as late as August;

REO will be on R&R April 1-18; REO will attend the next Nile Basin
Trust Fund meeting in Entebbe, Uganda, April 20-23; REO and Regional

Environment Specialist (RES) will attend the World Geothermal
Conference in Bali, Indonesia, April 25-30; RES has applied to
attend
the 2010 International Seminar on Climate Change and Natural
Resource
Management in California May 9-30, and REO is working with OES/PCI
to
identify a location and a date in May for the ESTH Africa
conference.

#YATES

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