Sep 232014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2009/05/09MANILA965.html#
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09MANILA965
2009-05-06 08:22
2011-08-30 01:44
UNCLASSIFIED
Embassy Manila

VZCZCXRO7410
OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHFK RUEHHM RUEHKSO RUEHNAG RUEHPB
DE RUEHML #0965/01 1260822
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 060822Z MAY 09
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4020
RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHZU/APEC COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 000965

SIPDIS

STATE FOR OES
BANGKOK FOR REO HHOWARD

REF: A) MANILA 906 B) MANILA 942 C) MANILA 214 D) MANILA 248 E) 2007
MANILA 3482

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KSCA SENV ENRG TRGY TSPA EAGR RP
SUBJECT: EMBASSY MANILA’S ENVIRONMENTAL OUTREACH

¶1. SUMMARY: Mission Manila engaged in vigorous outreach efforts on
an array of environmental issues during April 2009. Ambassador led
the way with two provincial trips in April with an environmental
focus and events in Manila on Earth Day, April 22. In addition,
Embassy invited American scientists to talk about local
biodiversity; the Coral Triangle Initiative; and the relation
between pollution and global climate change. Our public relations
successes included several prominent media reports and the Asian
premier on Earth Day of “Into the Abyss”, an Embassy-assisted
National Geographic documentary on Philippine waters. Our
environment and science public outreach has strengthened bilateral
relationships; given Filipinos pride in their country’s endowments;
inspired better environmental stewardship; created forums for
talented scientists and U.S. government-funded projects; and given
us greater access to government officials and civil society leaders.
END SUMMARY.

U.S. Environmental Commitment
—————————–

¶2. During April, Ambassador energized some of the Philippines’ most
senior attorneys and judges in Baguio at the Philippine Supreme
Court’s Forum on Environmental Justice (Ref. A). She also met with
civic and governmental leaders in Puerto Princesa who play key roles
in environmental advocacy (Ref. B). On Earth Day itself, Ambassador
participated with USAID Mission members in hand-washing
demonstrations at the Coca-Cola bottling plant and with the
“EcoDefenders” at a Mall of Asia event (Septel).

Land Biodiversity a Surprise to Many
————————————

¶3. Other Mission events also highlighted the environment. Field
Museum Mammal Curator Dr. Laurence Heaney surprised many people in
his audiences with his well-documented assertion that the
Philippines has the world’s greatest terrestrial diversity per
hectare. Dr. Heaney has been coming to the Philippines annually for
over 20 years to collect samples for the Philippine National Museum
and document the country’s rich terrestrial biodiversity. He noted
that the Philippines has 1,139 species and 50% are unique to the
Philippines, compared to Brazil’s 3,131 species, 25% of which are
endemic. To put that in perspective, Heaney explained, Brazil has
27 times the land mass as the Philippines. Heaney’s talk made front
page news in the Sunday, April 5 edition of the Philippine Inquirer,
one of the largest circulation daily newspapers.

Marine Diversity Better Known
—————————–

¶4. The Philippines is at the apex of the coral triangle, which is
the center of global marine biodiversity. Dr. Kent Carpenter of Old
Dominion University was a Peace Corp volunteer in the Philippines in
the 1970s and has been investigating the biology of Philippine
waters since then. Dr. Carpenter addressed Manila university
students, scientists, and government officials about the rich
species diversity which includes 600 reef-building coral species and
3,000 fish species. He talked about the threats killing the coral
and said sedimentation caused by illegal logging and slash-and- burn
agriculture is the major cause of coral mortality. Dr. Carpenter
promoted the Coral Triangle Initiative, and international effort to
save marine biodiversity, financed by over $40 million USG funds
(Ref. C). The Manila Bulletin and the Philippine Inquirer both
covered Dr. Carpenter’s talk and interviewed him.

Climate Change
————–

¶5. As inhabitants of an island nation vulnerable to sea level rise,
Filipinos are concerned about global warming. This concern drew
members of academia and civil society to listen to the U.S. Office
of Naval Research’s Dr. Jeff Reid talk at Ateneo University about
air pollution, as measured by six NASA satellites that circle the
earth twice a day. Because of the cloud cover in Asia, this area of
the world is hard to monitor via satellite, according to Dr. Reid.
To address this challenge, NASA installed a monitor at Manila
Observatory to measure aerosols (Ref. D), giving scientists data for
meteorology, hydrology, and pollution studies. More information on
this project is found at:
http://www.nrlmry.navy.mil/aerosol/#satellite analyses

Asian Premier of National Geographic Special
——————————————–

¶6. Embassy assisted a USG-funded National Geographic deep sea
exploration that documented new species in Philippine waters in
October of 2007 (Ref. E). National Geographic gave permission to

MANILA 00000965 002 OF 002

the EconOff to premier the documentary in Asia at Embassy Manila.
Filipino scientists who participated, students, Embassy personnel,
and Philippine government officials were delighted by the ocean
secrets revealed during the screening at the Embassy on Earth Day,
April 22. The documentary’s trailer may be viewed at:
http://channel.nationalgeographic.com “Into the Abyss”
Woods Hole, the world’s largest private oceanographic institution,
published an on-line article about this ocean exploration with
photos:
http://www.whoi.edu/oceanus/ “Creatures of the Celebes Sea”

KENNEY

   

 

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