|Wikileaks:||View 02ABUJA1450 at Wikileaks.org|
|Tags:||SENV PREL EFIS AORC EAID NI|
|Redacted:||This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.|
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS ABUJA 001450 SIPDIS DEPT FOR OES A/S TURNER FROM AMBASSADOR JETER ALSO FOR OES SBRANDEL AND KSHIPPE AF FOR DAS ROBERT PERRY ABIDJAN FOR RHAWKINS E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: SENV, PREL, EFIS, AORC, EAID, NI SUBJECT: NIGERIA: USG PARTICIPATION IN THE JUNE 17-19 SUPER PREP COM IN ABUJA REF: STATE 85964 1. Minister of State for the Environment Imeh Okopido recently called me concerning the level of USG representation for the June 17-19 Super Prep Com Ministerial to be hosted by President Olusegun Obasanjo. Okopido told me that he has not received a formal response to his March 22 invitation letter to Assistant Secretary Turner, but he had heard informally that OES was not sending anyone from Washington. 2. As noted in reftel, the Super Prep Com is an important step toward the World Summit on Sustainable Development later this year. The African Process, an initiative of eleven African countries, is aimed at establishing programs on ocean pollution from coastal sources in the regions from East Africa around the Cape to West Africa. It represents a serious initiative by Africans to address their environmental problems in a regional way. 3. Okopido is one of the continent's most knowledgeable and dynamic leaders on the environment. He has focussed President Obasanjo's attention on important issues like gas flaring. A positive Super Prep Com (which by Nigerian definition would require adequate representation from the U.S.) will help solidify the commitment of the Nigerian government and President Obasanjo in protecting the African environment. 4. Our experience in working with President Obasanjo on HIV/AIDS is instructive. His interest and commitment grew as he attended and even hosted international conferences with high-level visitors such as former U.S. Presidents Carter and Clinton and UN Secretary General Annan. Now President Obasanjo is the driving force among African Heads of State on this critical issue. He could serve the same role on the environment. Moreover, he is an architect of NEPAD, and our showing high-level interest in the Super Prep Com will encourage him to inject environmental concerns into NEPAD deliberations. In short, a successful Super Prep Com can be an important step in mobilizing Nigeria's substantial diplomatic and regional influence toward more effective environmental policies. 5. We are particularly hopeful that the Assistant Secretary can attend at least the June 19 Ministerial. If he cannot, we would ask support in finding other high-level participation perhaps from the EPA or other offices in the USG. We would also ask that USAID send an expert from Washington rather than ask a local USAID official to participate in the Abuja Super Prep Com. USAID Nigeria has no one on staff with the requisite experience, as environment issues are not covered by the Nigeria transitional strategic objectives. JETER
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