Nhema in the chair


0

The United States was in a quandary after it failed to stop Zimbabwe becoming chair of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development and Environment Minister Francis Nhema had to chair the 16th meeting.

The US said Nhema’s chairmanship was particularly troubling in light of the CSD’s themes for that year – agriculture, rural development, land, drought, desertification, and Africa – areas in which Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe’s rule had been especially egregious.

Washington said a Zimbabwean chairing a UN body on sustainable development ran counter to US attempts to reform the United Nations and raised questions about the CSD as a credible forum for addressing these issues.

As a result, the US government was reviewing its level of participation at meeting.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 08STATE40180, ACTION REQUEST: DEMARCHE ON ZIMBABWE CHAIR OF UN

If you are new to these pages, please read an introduction on the structure of a cable as well as how to discuss them with others. See also the FAQs

Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

08STATE40180

2008-04-16 22:54

2011-08-30 01:44

UNCLASSIFIED

Secretary of State

VZCZCXYZ0054

PP RUEHWEB

 

DE RUEHC #0180 1072300

ZNR UUUUU ZZH

P 162254Z APR 08

FM SECSTATE WASHDC

TO RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN PRIORITY 0000

RUEHSW/AMEMBASSY BERN PRIORITY 0000

RUEHBS/AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS PRIORITY 0000

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA PRIORITY 0000

RUEHCP/AMEMBASSY COPENHAGEN PRIORITY 0000

RUEHLJ/AMEMBASSY LJUBLJANA PRIORITY 0000

RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 0000

RUEHMD/AMEMBASSY MADRID PRIORITY 0000

RUEHNY/AMEMBASSY OSLO PRIORITY 0000

RUEHOT/AMEMBASSY OTTAWA PRIORITY 0000

RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 0000

RUEHPG/AMEMBASSY PRAGUE PRIORITY 0000

RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 0000

RUEHSM/AMEMBASSY STOCKHOLM PRIORITY 0000

RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV PRIORITY 0000

RUEHTC/AMEMBASSY THE HAGUE PRIORITY 0000

RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO PRIORITY 0000

RUEHWR/AMEMBASSY WARSAW PRIORITY 0000

RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON PRIORITY 0000

UNCLAS STATE 040180

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

FOR US EU AND EMB BRUSSELS

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: SENV AORC PREL EAGR EUN EAID ECON

SUBJECT: ACTION REQUEST: DEMARCHE ON ZIMBABWE CHAIR OF UN

COMMISSION ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

 

 

1. This is an Action Request. Please see paragraphs 5 and

6.

 

2. The May 5 – 16 meeting of the UN Commission on Sustainable

Development (CSD-16) will be chaired by Zimbabwe’s Minister

of Environment and Tourism, Francis Nhema. The Zimbabwean

chairmanship is particularly troubling in light of the CSD’s

themes this year – agriculture, rural development, land,

drought, desertification, and Africa – areas in which

Zimbabwe President Mugabe’s rule has been especially

egregious. We unsuccessfully fought Nhema’s election to the

chair last year.

 

3. The situation in Zimbabwe is worsening daily, with little

progress made towards a political solution. It is unlikely

that a possible runoff election will be held prior to CSD-16.

We understand as well from recent media reports that Nhema

has played a questionable role in the redistribution of

farmland. Under these circumstances, a Zimbabwean chairing a

UN body on sustainable development runs counter to U.S.

attempts to reform the United Nations and raises questions

about the CSD as a credible forum for addressing these

issues.

 

4. As a result, the U.S. Government is reviewing its level

of participation at CSD-16. Under normal circumstances Under

Secretary Dobriansky would lead the U.S. delegation; however,

 

SIPDIS

this is unlikely unless there is a dramatic improvement in

the political situation in Zimbabwe before the CSD begins, or

Zimbabwe does not chair CSD-16. We expect that a Deputy

Assistant Secretary career officer will represent the U.S.

instead.

 

5. Action Request (except Embassy Tel Aviv): Embassy is

requested to demarche the appropriate Foreign, Environment or

other Ministry officials to encourage Governments to join us

in lowering their level of representation at CSD-16 and to

report back as soon as possible.

 

6. Embassy may wish to draw from the following points:

 

— Absent a positive and peaceful resolution of the political

conflict in Zimbabwe, or Zimbabwe not chairing the meeting,

we believe Governments should seriously consider lowering

their level of representation at CSD-16 for the following

reasons:

 

— A high-level official or political presence in meetings

officiated by a Zimbabwean Minister would encourage the

abuses in Zimbabwe and display support for a broken UN

system.

 

— We should not validate Zimbabwe as a champion or

practitioner of sustainable development.

 

— A Zimbabwean chairmanship damages the credibility of the

Commission and Member States efforts in the realm of

sustainable development.

 

— Sending a lower-than-normal level official to head the

delegation sends a quiet but clear message that a Zimbabwean

chairmanship of a CSD session devoted to rural development in

Africa is unacceptable.

 

— Although we encourage an apolitical CSD in which practical

discourse takes place, under these circumstances, we believe

we should display our genuine support for sustainable

development by making it clear that a Zimbabwean chairmanship

is not acceptable in terms of sustainable development or UN

credibility and reform.

 

— We recognize the importance of balancing the impact on our

broader sustainable development policy with our overall

policy of reforming the UN. We want to ensure that any

political signal we send will not be at the expense of our

ongoing commitment to sustainable development and the CSD.

The U.S. delegation will demonstrate this commitment through

its contributions to, and active and constructive

participation in, the sessions and side events of CSD-16.

 

— We are approaching most OECD members with this request to

seek views and determine if there is support for a collective

action.

 

7. Action Request Embassy Tel Aviv: Embassy is requested to

inform appropriate Environment or other Ministry officials

that we are taking this action. This is a courtesy because

Israel is the WEOG Bureau member for CSD-16; we are not

asking it to take any specific action.

 

8. Please slug responses to IO/EDA Rebecca Webber

([email protected]) and OES/ENV Keri Holland

([email protected]).

RICE

 

(6 VIEWS)

Don't be shellfish... Please SHARETweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Share on Facebook
Facebook
Share on LinkedIn
Linkedin
Email this to someone
email
Print this page
Print

Like it? Share with your friends!

0
Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

0 Comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *