Environment Ministers To Seek Leaders’ Consideration On Development Of Proposed Asean-Wide FDRS
08 May 2012
published by www.bernama.com.my
Singapore/ASEAN — Environment Ministers of the Sub-Regional Ministerial Meeting (MSC) on Transboundary Haze Pollution have expressed appreciation on the significant progress in developing national Fire Danger Rating Systems (FDRS) in Malaysia and Indonesia.
The FDRS provides early warning on potential fire occurrences, which enables preparedness and preventive actions during dry weather periods.
Considering the usefulness of the FDRS, the Ministers agreed to recommend the development of the proposed ASEAN-wide FDRS to be considered by the ASEAN Leaders,” they said in a statement released by Singapore’s Ministry of Environment and Water Resources here Tuesday.
Environment Ministers and their representatives from Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand met at the 13th Meeting of the Sub-Regional MSC on Transboundary Haze Pollution in Brunei today.
They noted that the ASEAN-wide FDRS map was being regularly updated by Malaysia while the Malaysian and ASEAN-wide FDRS maps were also displayed on Google Earth.
Both Malaysia and Indonesia have further refined their systems by integrating weather data and ground conditions such as fire prone peat areas, installation of more automatic weather stations to improve further the resolution of FDRS, and to improve on the short term and medium term forecasts.
Other MSC countries have expressed their interest to consider establishing their national FDRS with the assistance of Malaysia and Indonesia.
The Ministers noted that from February to April 2012, MSC Mekong countries were affected by smoke haze from open burning activities in the Mekong Sub-Region while PM10 concentrations exceeded national standards and reached unhealthy levels.
As for the southern Asean region, the hotspots were generally subdued due to wet weather conditions during the same period.
The Ministers noted the Asean Specialised Meteorological Centre’s (ASMC’s) weather outlook for the region in the coming months, in particular the prevailing neutral conditions (neither El Nino nor La Nina) expected to last at least until October 2012.
However, drier weather may be expected during the coming traditional dry season between June and mid-October 2012.
The Ministers noted that MSC countries are closely monitoring the regional hotspots and weather outlook.
They said the update of fire and haze situation and recognised various initiatives undertaken by the MSC countries to prevent and mitigate land and forest fires.
In particular, Brunei is currently undertaking the expansion and improvement of its existing air quality monitoring network, and has put in place a hotline for public query and receipt of complaints of open burning.
Malaysia shared its experience and achievements in implementing fire prevention and peat land management programme, which has significantly reduced the number of hotspots in the project area by more than 70 per cent in 2011 as compared with 2010.
Thailand has promoted the concept of Zero-Burning Village and implemented the Guidelines on Agricultural Residual Burning. Indonesia shared its experience in mapping burnt areas utilizing satellite imagery.
The Ministers noted that the process of ratification of the ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution by Indonesia was underway.
They acknowledged the successful completion of the Indonesia-Singapore collaboration in Jambi Province and the Indonesia-Malaysia collaboration in Riau Province.
They further noted that Malaysia and Singapore have offered to continue their collaboration with Indonesia, while Indonesia welcomed the interest expressed by Malaysia and Singapore and informed that this is being considered by the Coordinating Ministry for People Welfare.
The Ministers also noted Brunei’s interest to explore possible areas of collaboration with Indonesia, similar to that of Malaysia-Indonesia and Singapore-Indonesia.
Indonesia would consider the proposal and both sides would discuss the details further.