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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
03THEHAGUE2610
2003-10-10 14:49:00
UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Embassy The Hague
Cable title:  

EVERY SILVER LINING HAS A CLOUD: DUBLIN AND THE

Tags:   SENV  ECON  EFIN  PREL  EI  NL  EUN 
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						UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 THE HAGUE 002610 

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

DEPARTMENT FOR EUR - CHARLIE RIES, EUR/PGI, EUR/ERA,
EUR/UBI, OES/PCI
USAID FOR EGAT - JACKEE SCHAFER, PCC - SARAH SWIFT
GDA- HOLLY WISE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SENV ECON EFIN PREL EI NL EUN
SUBJECT: EVERY SILVER LINING HAS A CLOUD: DUBLIN AND THE
HAGUE WILLING PARTNERS ON SUBSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT; EC LESS
ENTHUSIATIC

REF: A. STATE 243400


B. STATE 272561

C. STATE 275504

This cable contains sensitive information. Handle
accordingly.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 THE HAGUE 002610

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

DEPARTMENT FOR EUR - CHARLIE RIES, EUR/PGI, EUR/ERA,
EUR/UBI, OES/PCI
USAID FOR EGAT - JACKEE SCHAFER, PCC - SARAH SWIFT
GDA- HOLLY WISE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SENV ECON EFIN PREL EI NL EUN
SUBJECT: EVERY SILVER LINING HAS A CLOUD: DUBLIN AND THE
HAGUE WILLING PARTNERS ON SUBSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT; EC LESS
ENTHUSIATIC

REF: A. STATE 243400


B. STATE 272561

C. STATE 275504

This cable contains sensitive information. Handle
accordingly.


1. (U) This cable has been cleared by Embassy Dublin and
USEU Brussels.

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


2. (U) In a trip designed to build relationships on
sustainable development with the January-June 2004 EU Troika
(Ireland, The Netherlands, and the European Commission), and
to explore specific efforts on water, a small U.S. delegation
-- led by State Department Special Representative for
Sustainable Development Jonathan Margolis -- made substantial
inroads with Irish and Dutch interlocutors and identified
several areas of common ground. We also identified specific
opportunities for further discussion and collaboration.
Conversations in Brussels may have opened the door for
further communication with the EC, but also identified areas
of clear disagreement. These consultations laid significant
groundwork for future collaborative efforts on water issues,
and also reinforced U.S. interest in working through a
reformed UN Commission on Sustainable Development, a message
that was well-received across the board. Throughout the
trip, the U.S. delegation held a number of fruitful
consultations with private sector and civil society
representatives.

--------------
BACKGROUND
--------------


3. (U) During the week of September 29, Jonathan Margolis,
Department's Special Representative for Sustainable
Development, led a small State/OES-State/EUR delegation to
Dublin, Brussels, and The Hague. Margolis delivered a series
of key messages:

The U.S.:

-- is committed to sustainable development and to following
up on the Doha Development Agenda, Monterrey Consensus, and

the outcomes of the World Summit on Sustainable Development
(WSSD);

-- is eager to push forward with specific implementation
programs;

-- supports working through the UN and other multilateral
institutions, and agrees fully with the UN's initial focus on
water;

-- would like UN sustainable development meetings (especially
the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD)) to showcase
programs and plans for implementation in specific developing
countries - those for whom water is a developmental priority;

-- is committed to making the new non-negotiating format of
the CSD 12 session a success by ensuring strong technical
expert participation and robust engagement with private
sector and civil society;

-- is developing three areas of focus for its efforts on
water:
a) point-of-use approaches to safe drinking water, building
on the Safe Water System public-private partnership launched
at last year's World Summit on Sustainable Development;
b) expanded efforts on innovative financing mechanisms for
water supply infrastructure, building in particular on the
success of USAID's revolving fund efforts;
c) "expert support teams" (USG or potentially multi-donor)
that would assist self-selecting developing countries in
their efforts to develop national water development
strategies (reftels)

-- would like to identify opportunities for collaboration and
partnership with Europe and is looking ahead to a series of
international meetings including the Water for the Poorest
meeting (Stavanger, Norway; 4-5 November 2003), Pan-African
Implementation and Partnership Conference on Water (Addis
Ababa, Ethiopia; 8-13 December 2003), UNECE sustainable
development prep meeting (Geneva; 15-16 January 2004), UNEP
Global Ministerial Environment Forum (Jeju, South Korea;
29-31 March 2004), and 12th session of the UN Commission on
Sustainable Development (CSD 12; New York; 14-30 April 2004).

--------------
RELATIONSHIP-BUILDING
IN DUBLIN
--------------


4. (U) The U.S. delegation's trip opened with a thorough and
congenial dialogue with several members of Ireland's
sustainable development team (including Department of the
Environment, Heritage, and Local Government Assistant
Secretary Geraldine Tallon and reps from the Department of

SIPDIS
Foreign Affairs and Development). While the GOI team has
only recently begun its preparations for CSD 12, they were
supportive of U.S. ideas, particularly the concept of
assisting specific developing countries with their national
water strategies in advance of the CSD meetings. They
identified water experts on their side and expressed interest
in an ongoing dialogue between USG and GOI experts in the
run-up to CSD 12. The GOI team also raised the issue of the
format of the CSD 12 session itself, openly grappling with
the practical aspects of how one uses a UN setting to
facilitate implementation.

--------------
TAKING THE PULSE
IN BRUSSELS
--------------


5. (U) USDEL met with officials from DG-Development,
DG-Environment, DG-Relex, and DG-Research, each of whom
claimed competence over various aspects of EU sustainable
development policy. DG-Environment Director for Global and
International Affairs Claus Sorensen welcomed moving from
rhetoric about sustainable development to implementation,
noting the "uselessness" of trying to re-negotiate
Johannesburg at the UNECE Environment for Europe Ministerial
(Kiev, May 2003). However, Sorensen also stressed that while
the UN should support implementation of such projects, it
could not abandon its global policymaking role and must
maintain a monitoring function over all efforts, in order to
ensure a continuing commitment by all countries. He agreed
that the U.S.-advocated country-specific approach could help
avoid "consensus quagmire that plagues the UN" and allow the
UN to better move forward on implementation. Although
DG-Development Chef de Cabinet Friedrich Hamburger was
receptive to Margolis' proposals in pri
nciple, in a number of occasions, instead of opening doors to
U.S.-EU cooperation, he cited limitations that would hamper
working together. Hamburger said he agreed it would be
useful for U.S. and EU water experts to work together on
identifying water projects; however, he did not respond to
our suggestions on working through multilateral institutions
nor to our request for points of contact for follow-up.
Hamburger also noted that while the U.S. was willing to
choose its focus countries, "Europe could not abandon the
poorer countries and must maintain cooperation with all
countries in need." At each of our meetings, EC
interlocutors instinctively called for a renewed role for
multilateral policy guidance and UN monitoring of WSSD
commitments.


6. (U) Our EC interlocutors showed interest in USDEL's
suggestion that we explore the possibility of resuming a
U.S.-EU high-level dialogue on sustainable development.
DG-Environment's Sorensen noted that for such a dialogue to
be productive we would have to identify only those specific
areas where both sides agreed progress was possible. He said
the EU would have to consult within the Commission to
identify those areas before proceeding. After our meeting,
Sorensen's staff informed us that although previous such
dialogues had been led by DG Catherine Day, she would not
participate in any future dialogue and would delegate such
responsibility to Sorenson.

--------------
PRAGMATISM IN
THE HAGUE
--------------


7. (SBU) Our engagement with Dutch interlocutors was
decidedly positive. Ton Boon von Ochssee, newly appointed
Ambassador for Sustainable Development in the Dutch Foreign
Ministry, convened a lively meeting with 10 members of the
Dutch interagency sustainable development task force. As
with the Irish, the Dutch are in the early stages of their
preparations for CSD; nonetheless, they listened receptively
to USG ideas, offering probing questions and useful
suggestions. They also described a recent GON effort to
mainstream public-private partnerships within their domestic
and international sustainable development activities and
expressed interest in learning more about USAID's Global
Development Alliance. The Dutch are particularly interested
in water projects in Africa and in promoting donor
coordination on such efforts. We collectively identified the
upcoming meetings in Norway ("Water for the Poorest," to be
convened 4-5 November in Stavanger, Norway, by the
International Water Academy) and Addis ("Pan-
African Implementation and Partnership Conference on Water,"
to be convened 8-13 December by the African Ministerial
Council on Water (AMCOW), the UN, and the African Development
Bank) as opportunities to coordinate among donors. The Dutch
suggested that we plan to stay on an extra day at each
meeting to advance the planning and dialogue for cooperation
on water projects - a suggestion we endorsed. In a direct
communication, Ambassador von Ochssee offered to help us get
our positive message across in Europe, especially with those
member states that may be less inclined to hear it.


8. (U) In a separate meeting, Gerard Wolters,
Inspector-General in the Dutch Environment Ministry and
Co-Chair of the International Network of Environmental
Compliance and Enforcement (INECE) - responded positively to
USDEL's suggestion that INECE explore bringing their
enforcement and compliance training modules, particularly on
water-related issues, to the CSD process. Comment: While
agreeing with much of the USG's approach to sustainable
development, the Dutch were frank in highlighting which
elements of the U.S. agenda might receive pushback from other
EU member states. Specifically, they encouraged us to
articulate what policy role on water - if any - we envision
the UN playing. We provided an example on water pricing in
which the UN might promote opportunities for specific
countries to discuss their individual approaches to pricing
options, rather than on a global policy. End Comment.

--------------
POSITIVE DIALOGUES WITH
PRIVATE SECTOR, CIVIL SOCIETY
--------------


9. (U) In both Dublin and Brussels, the U.S. delegation held
a series of positive dialogues with private sector and civil
society representatives. At an NGO roundtable in Dublin, for
example, NGO reps were quite receptive to U.S. messages on
the need for an implementation focus, particularly within the
UN sustainable development context. NGO reps in Brussels
expressed surprise and satisfaction with U.S. commitment to
pursue sustainable development within the UN context. The
American Chamber of Commerce in Brussels was also positive
about the U.S. delegation's message and offered a frank and
eye-opening assessment of their difficulties operating in
Europe as American companies. They complained, however, that
the European Commission had shut out U.S. companies from
consultations and discussions on corporate social
responsibility. They also voiced some concerns regarding
what they saw as increased European cynicism towards U.S.
initiatives on sustainable development. Notably, NGOs and
private sector repre
sentatives in both countries made only passive references to
climate change policy. Comment: In many ways, these
dialogues were more positive and pragmatic than those with
U.S. stakeholders. This seemed to be partly because the
groups were more frustrated with the perceived failures of
their own governments and the EU and were therefore less
inclined to snipe at U.S. government policies. End Comment.

--------------
COMMENTS
--------------


10. (SBU) After several years of a difficult and often
heated trans-Atlantic dialogue on sustainability issues, the
meetings in Dublin and The Hague were a breath of fresh air.
Ireland and the Netherlands appear to be among the most
forward-leaning and pragmatic EU member states. Their
cordial reception of the U.S. delegation and seeming
willingness to explore areas of common interest left the U.S.
delegation optimistic. With both countries slated to hold
the EU Presidency next year, improved U.S.-EU cooperation
could yield great dividends for the sustainability agenda,
particularly on water, sanitation, and human settlements.


11. (SBU) While EC representatives indicated a willingness to
look into areas in which the U.S. and EU could collaborate,
they also identified clear areas of policy disagreement.
Although such collaboration may not be immediate, the greater
degree of open-mindedness of some interlocutors (particularly
DG-Environment's Sorenson) suggests that such cooperation is
still a possibility.


12. (SBU) Initial reactions from interlocutors -
particularly those in Dublin and The Hague - suggest that
this series of meetings has played an important role in
shaping European expectations for CSD 12. Both the Irish and
Dutch governments appear to have robust sustainable
development teams, but are at an early stage of their
planning for CSD and are receptive to others' visions for
what the key outcomes of the meeting might be. Both see the
November meeting in Norway and December meeting in Ethiopia
as key opportunities.

End Comments.

--------------
NEXT STEPS
--------------


13. (SBU) USDEL and interlocutors identified several key
next steps in the coming weeks/months:

-- The 4-5 November "Water for the Poorest" meeting in
Stavanger, Norway, and 8-13 December "Pan-African
Implementation and Partnership Conference on Water" in Addis
Ababa, Ethiopia will both be key opportunities for further
planning and donor coordination.

-- EU, GOI and GON interlocutors responded positively to the
suggestion of digital videoconferences (DVCs) in the near
future to continue the dialogue.

-- In the meantime, both GOI and GON agreed to working-level
dialogues with USG water experts.

-- A small Dutch sustainable development team might be
traveling to Washington in the next month or two; USDEL
invited the visitors to join an interagency CSD working group
meeting.

-- The Dutch indicated they might be able to find $4 million
to support the West African Water Initiative.


SOBEL