Indonesia — Singapore was seriously affected by smoke haze from forest and peatland fires in Sumatra. The haze upset both people of Singapore and Malaysia.
“The haze is not only a local or regional issue. It has a global dimension as well,” said George Yeo, Singaporean Foreign Affairs Minister, upon answering questions posed by the Singaporean parliament on Monday, Nov 22.
Yeo responded over several doubts among members of Singaporean parliamentary which wondered why the haze issue has been annual problem hitting the country.
It was apparent that there was a day when the Pollutant Standards Index touched the “unhealthy” range at 200 or 300.
“Indonesia is mostly concerned with the haze issue because it affects most the people in Indonesia who live closest to the fire,” said Yeo.
He moreover went on to say that Singapore and Malaysia have been collaborating with the provincial governments of Riau and Jambi respectively on various fire and haze prevention programmes. “These efforts have helped mitigate the haze problem in the last three years. But our experience this year shows that more needs to be done.” Yeo afterwards said, “I thanked Pak Marty for Indonesia’s cooperation. Given that the haze does not respect boundaries, it is imperative that regional countries continue to work closely together on this issue.”
The reduction of emissions from deforestation and forest degradation is an important element of ongoing climate change negotiations under the Bali Action Plan called REDD Plus. Indonesia, said Yeo, is an active participant in REDD Plus.
“An example of this is the US$1 billion bilateral agreement between Norway and Indonesia,” he said.