Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
07DHAKA1745
2007-11-05 05:18:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Dhaka
Cable title:  

GOVERNMENT ADVISER ON S&T COOPERATION,

Tags:  EAGR EAID EFIS ELAB ENRG PHUM PREL SENV TSPL 
pdf how-to read a cable
VZCZCXRO7598
RR RUEHHM RUEHPB
DE RUEHKA #1745/01 3090518
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 050518Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY DHAKA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5461
INFO RUEHZN/ENVIRONMENT SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COLLECTIVE
RUEHLM/AMEMBASSY COLOMBO 8131
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD 1860
RUEHKT/AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU 9321
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 1752
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 0243
RUEHCG/AMCONSUL CHENNAI 0934
RUEHCI/AMCONSUL KOLKATA 0959
RUEHBI/AMCONSUL MUMBAI 0269
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 DHAKA 001745 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

PLEASE PASS TO DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY (NA-21 OFFICE) AND
USTR, MARIDETH SANDLER

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/05/2022
TAGS: EAGR EAID EFIS ELAB ENRG PHUM PREL SENV TSPL
KNNP, BG
SUBJECT: GOVERNMENT ADVISER ON S&T COOPERATION,
ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES AND OTHER TOPICS

REF: A. DHAKA 951


B. DHAKA 156

C. DHAKA 1604

DHAKA 00001745 001.2 OF 003


Classified By: CDA a.i. Geeta Pasi for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)


C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 DHAKA 001745

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

PLEASE PASS TO DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY (NA-21 OFFICE) AND
USTR, MARIDETH SANDLER

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/05/2022
TAGS: EAGR EAID EFIS ELAB ENRG PHUM PREL SENV TSPL
KNNP, BG
SUBJECT: GOVERNMENT ADVISER ON S&T COOPERATION,
ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES AND OTHER TOPICS

REF: A. DHAKA 951


B. DHAKA 156

C. DHAKA 1604

DHAKA 00001745 001.2 OF 003


Classified By: CDA a.i. Geeta Pasi for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)



1. (C) SUMMARY: Dr. Chowdhury Sajjadul Karim, Adviser for
the Ministries of Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock, and
Environment and Forest, expressed hope for a broad
implementation of the U.S.-Bangladesh Science and Technology
Cooperation Agreement, to include nuclear safety,
agriculture, avian influenza, and conservation science,
during an October 29 meeting with the CDA a.i. The Adviser
comes from Bangladesh,s nuclear physics research community
and has had a long history of contact with the US Embassy.
Dr. Karim also discussed the political situation in
Bangladesh and pointedly expressed regret regarding the death
of Choilesh Ritchil, an indigenous environmental activist
from the Madhupur region. (REFTEL A) END SUMMARY.


2. (U) On October 29, CDA a.i. and ECONOFF (notetaker) met
Adviser Karim. Other Government of Bangladesh officials from
the Ministries of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, and
Environment and Forests were also present. Karim was eager
to discuss implementation of the U.S.-Bangladesh Science and
Technology Cooperation Agreement (S&T Agreement) (REFTEL B).

General Political Discussion
--------------


3. (C) Before launching the discussion of S&T issues, Karim
acknowledged that the political parties represent the people,
and said that the caretaker government needed to hold
discussions with the political parties. He noted that the
people,s expectations are very high ) and that no

government would be able to meet all of them.

Avian Influenza
--------------


4. (SBU) Turning to avian influenza, Karim noted he had just
inaugurated a new AI-focused laboratory at the Bangladesh
Livestock Research Institute, the national reference
laboratory for H5 virus detection, claiming that the
government is very practically oriented. (NOTE: Separately,
USAID has engaged Karim on the issue of improving AI
coordination within the Government of Bangladesh: he has
agreed to support a new coordinator position within the
Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries.)

GSP Concerns for Shrimp Exports
--------------


5. (U) The Adviser raised concerns regarding the current GSP
review (REFTEL C) and potential impact on Bangladesh,s
shrimp exports to the US. The Adviser and attending
officials noted that an abrupt shock to the industry would
have a devastating impact on families working in the
industry. The CDA a.i. explained the GSP review was a
thorough process, promising to maintain a dialogue with the
GOB on the issue. COMMENT: USG support thus far has been
vital in launching the export-oriented shrimp industry in
Bangladesh. END COMMENT.

Flood Recovery
--------------


6. (U) Responding to a question regarding recovery from the
recent floods, the Adviser explained that while the first set
of floods were manageable, the second set overwhelmed
Bangladesh,s disaster response capacity. He projected a
shortfall of 700 thousand tons of rice due to lost crops but
noted that a new hybrid crop may be able to generate an
additional 800 to 900 thousand tons if the next harvest is
fully successful. He expressed concern over international
commodity prices for rice and wheat. (NOTE: Post will report
SEPTEL on the food security situation in Bangladesh,
including the GOB,s difficulties in procuring food

DHAKA 00001745 002.2 OF 003


commercially.)

Science and Technology Cooperation
--------------


7. (C) Recounting the history of the U.S.-Bangladesh S&T
Agreement, Adviser Karim stressed his interest in
implementation through a broad-based S&T committee. He
acknowledged the GOB,s past single focus on nuclear energy
as a limiting factor to progress on S&T cooperation. Noting
that S&T cooperation has broad potential, Karim expressed
interest in US agricultural extension programs and increased
agriculture science exchanges. Other areas of interest
include avian influenza and environmental science. As a next
step, the Adviser proposed a working level meeting with the
Secretary for Science and Technology and Embassy

SIPDIS
counterparts.


8. (SBU) The Adviser expressed great appreciation for the
current U.S. Department of Energy,s International
Radiological Threat Reduction (IRTR) program (DOE, NA-21).

Choilesh Ritchil Case
--------------


9. (C) Regarding the case of the tortured and murdered
indigenous environmental and community activist Choilesh
Ritchil in Madhupur (REFTEL A),Adviser Karim struck a
pensive and serious tone, making the unequivocal statement
that the killing (at the hands of the GOB military forces)
was wrong. He reiterated his government,s commitment to
equitable treatment and the pursuit of justice related to the
case.

Environmental Issues
--------------


10. (SBU) The Adviser stressed Bangladesh would be directly
impacted by global warming, and could generate as many as 30
million environmental refugees. Adviser Karim requested U.S.
support for Bangladesh,s concerns and spoke passionately
about the need for timely action on global warming.


11. (U) Adviser Karim thanked us for supporting the Nishorgo
project which promotes the conservation of Bangladesh,s
national forests with sustainable development and resource
management planning. He noted that the GOB had recently
resolved a longstanding issue regarding retention of a
portion of park entrance fees to fund the project. COMMENT:
This breakthrough represents a vital step in ensuring the
financial sustainability of the Nishorgo project. END COMMENT.


12. (U) Adviser Karim said the Ministry of Environment and
Forests is establishing a participatory forestation program
in Madhupur, to involve the local indigenous people in the
protection and management of the forest. This would entail
expansion of the community co-management model employed by
the USAID supported Nishorgo project. He added that this
approach has high level buy-in from the caretaker government
which also supports participatory approaches to forest
management, to include both indigenous peoples and reputable
NGOs. USAID reports that the Chief Advisor directed that the
Nishorgo model be applied in Madhupur.

Comment
--------------


13. (C) Karim comes across as a proactive problem-solver who
seeks to have real impact in his portfolio during the
Caretaker government. USAID reports that Karim is their most
important high-level contact as well the most helpful they
have worked with in years. Karim has repeatedly and
effectively interceded with the GOB bureaucracy on behalf of
USAID projects. He shows extraordinary interest in even
routine USG requests for assistance (for example, he has
sought a briefing on a request routed through the Embassy by
a US scientist seeking permission to do research in the
Sundarbans forest.) Post will follow up with Karim,s staff
regarding ideas for implementation of the S&T Agreement.

DHAKA 00001745 003.2 OF 003




Pasi