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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
09BANGKOK582 2009-03-09 00:00:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Bangkok
Cable title:  

EMBASSY SCIENCE FELLOWS PROGRAM 2009 (Thailand)

Tags:   SENV TSPL TBIO ECON AMGT APER TH 
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VZCZCXRO3521
RR RUEHAST RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHLN RUEHMA RUEHNH RUEHPB RUEHPOD
RUEHTM RUEHTRO
DE RUEHBK #0582/01 0680000
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 090000Z MAR 09
FM AMEMBASSY BANGKOK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6303
INFO RUEHZN/ENVIRONMENT SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COLLECTIVE
RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE
RUEHKT/AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU 7471
RUEHSV/AMEMBASSY SUVA 0435
					  UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BANGKOK 000582 

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR OES/ITC - Eileen Kane

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SENV TSPL TBIO ECON AMGT APERTH
SUBJECT: EMBASSY SCIENCE FELLOWS PROGRAM 2009 (Thailand)

REF: (A) State 10843; (B) Thailand 418

1.Embassy Bangkok submits the following request for an Embassy
Science Fellow (ESF) with the 2009 program (ref A).

Topic: climate change and adaptation strategies as they relate to
water issues.

Preferred time frame is June, July and August 2010 for approximately
two months. Length of fellowship is flexible and the time frame
could go into September. The intent for time frame is to use the
summer transfer season when gap housing is expected to be available.
Medical clearance is necessary if the ESF stays for more than 59
days, but Post is open to a shorter stay that would obviate the need
for medical clearance if that would be an obstacle.

Additional skills that a successful
Fellow should possess: Thai language skills would be helpful but not
required; field research experience would be helpful. Ability to
communicate with a wide range of actors from government and NGO
community is important.
A security clearance is not required for the work; however, a secret
clearance would open more office space opportunities so the
applicant is requested to apply for one; if one not granted in time,
Post will office the Fellow in non CAA space.



2. Proposal description:

The ESF would contribute to the knowledge base for Thailand and the
greater Mekong River Subregion the interplay between climate change
predictions, hydrologic consequences and the planning/adaption needs
for agriculture, including aquaculture, sanitation, flood
prevention, fisheries and drinking water. A wide range of scientists
from any of several different disciplines - engineering, hydrology,
modeling, fisheries or agronomy could contribute. Post realizes that
the topic is too broad for any one scientist to work on all aspects
in a short visit. The head of the Royal Thai Government (RTG)
Climate Change Office has expressed to ESTHoff an interest in having
a science fellow.

BACKGROUND


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



The RTG, donors, and scientific experts view Thailand, along with
the rest of Southeast Asia, as among the most vulnerable to likely
climate change (CC) effects (ref B). Water issues figure at the top
of impacts. Thailand is at risk from rising sea levels that will
damage infrastructure and displace people. Increasing salinization
of rivers is expected to negatively affect fisheries; the Mekong
River that Thailand shares with four nations has the second most
productive and diverse fishery after the Amazon. Coastal changes
from sea level rising would bring erosion and destruction of coral
reefs and mangrove forests. A large part of Thailand is in the
greater Mekong River basin, for which climate change is projected to
harm crops. The effects of Himalayan glacial melting on Mekong
water levels needs to be better understood as well.

At a recent conference by the Mekong River Commission on adaptation
to CC, scientists appeared to agree on a likely scenario of
increased flooding during the rainy season coupled with increased
drought during the dry season; also possible is a large population
displacement from coastal and riparian areas (including Bangkok) due
to rising water levels.

Thailand's climate change initiatives focus more on adaptation than
mitigation, as it is not a major greenhouse gas emitter. The
looming costs to the U.S. are potentially significant from the water
aspects of climate change in Thailand and the Mekong region:
national destabilization, increased natural disasters, reduced
exports from agriculture (Thailand is the world's greatest rice
exporter) and an increase in invasive species.

Thailand is an emerging regional water expert and donor country in
its own right. It will host the Mekong River Commission's next
meeting, in which climate change will be a focus, during the summer,
which would be an ideal time for an ESF to interact with other
scientists. USAID has a large regional water and climate change
program, and interaction with an ESF fellow would be helpful to
both.



3. Administrative support: Post commits to provide housing, office
support, and in-country travel arrangements. The fellow would be
housed in Embassy housing pool furnished quarters, using one of the
many gap units during summer transfer season. If Fellow could not
come in summer of 2009, then Post requests the fellow for summer of


2010.



4. RSO concurrence: RSO has cleared on this cable but Bangkok is not

BANGKOK 00000582 002 OF 002


an unaccompanied tour post.



5. State Department point of contact: ESTH officer Howell (Hal)
Howard (ETD 9/2011): howardhh@state.gov; office 66 2 205-4712; fax
66 2 254. Alternate contact: ESTH assistant Selma Garrido,
garridos@sate.gov.

JOHN