PressRelease: ASEAN HAZE AGREEMENT ENTERS INTO FORCE
November 25, 2003 published by: ASEAN Secretariat
ASEAN Secretariat – JAKARTA (25 Nov 2003) — The ASEANAgreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution entered into force today. This followsthe deposit of the sixth instrument of ratification by the Government ofThailand with the Secretary General of ASEAN on 26 September, 2003. TheAgreement provides for its entry into force sixty days after the deposit of thesixth instrument of ratification. Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia, Myanmar,Singapore, and Viet Nam had earlier deposited their instrument of ratification/approval.
The Agreement, signed by the ten member countries of ASEAN on 10June 2002 in Kuala Lumpur during the World Conference and Exhibition on Land andForest Fire Hazards, is the first such regional arrangement in the world thatbinds a group of contiguous states to tackle transboundary haze pollutionresulting from land and forest fires. The Agreement contains provisions onmonitoring, assessment and prevention, technical cooperation and scientificresearch, mechanisms for coordination, lines of communication, and simplifiedcustoms and immigration procedures for disaster relief. The Agreement providesfor the establishment of an ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Transboundary HazePollution Control to undertake the various activities required under theAgreement.
Parties of the Agreement are required to cooperate in developingand implementing measures to prevent and monitor transboundary haze pollution,and control sources of fires by developing early warning systems, exchangeinformation and technology, and provide mutual assistance. The Agreement alsorequires the Parties to respond promptly to a request for relevant informationsought by a state or states affected by such transboundary haze pollution, whenthe transboundary haze pollution originates from within their territories. TheParties are required to take legal, administrative and/or other measures toimplement their obligations under the Agreement.
Since the signing of the Agreement in June 2002, the ASEANEnvironment Ministers have consistently expressed their commitment to ensure theearly entry into force of the Agreement. This speedy adoption and entry intoforce of the Agreement bears testimony to ASEANs resolve to tackle land andforest fires and transboundary haze pollution comprehensively.
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has recognizedthe Agreement as a global role model for the tackling of transboundary issues.UNEP Executive Director Klaus Toepfer extended his congratulation to ASEAN andthe Governments of Southeast Asia for their foresight and commitment incombating the threats posed by uncontrolled land and forest fires.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations is composed of BruneiDarussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines,Singapore, Thailand, and Viet Nam.