SINGAPORE : The date for the regional workshop to tackle the haze has been set.
Ministers and officials around the region are scheduled to meet on November 2 in Indonesia.
Singapore wants to thank Indonesia for taking the initiative to organise the regional workshop, says Singapore’s environment minister Dr Yaacob Ibrahim.
A long term plan of action is expected to be put up by Singapore at the regional workshop, and further discussed at the ASEAN ministerial meeting on the environment in Cebu on November 9 and 10.
“If we can put together a long term plan of action, I think that would be great for the region, for Indonesia and for our country. At the moment, the officials are working behind the scene, and we are keen to produce a long term plan of action that all countries can adopt,” says Environment & Water Resources Minister Dr Yaacob Ibrahim.
Dr Yaacob has also revealed that Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono told Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong that he is prepared to ratify an ASEAN agreement to combat the haze.
Though signed by all the ASEAN members in 2002, Indonesia and Philippines have not ratified it.
“I hope the Indonesian Parliament, together with Indonesian legislators, will move the ratification as soon as possible. The haze agreement is an important piece of framework to allow us to tackle this. The sooner they rectify it, the better for us, in order to move forward using the haze funds and other provisions within the agreement,” says Dr Yaacob.
Heavy rain is expected in the region over the next few days to help douse the fires in Indonesia.
Indonesia has also leased two Russian amphibious firefighting planes to fight the fires in Kalimantan and Sumatra.
Singapore says it stands ready to assist Indonesia in its efforts by sending them a C130 transport plane for cloud seeding and also fire fighters, but Indonesia has yet to accept the offer. – CNA /ls