ASEAN — Bandar Seri Begawan: Asean leaders has agreed to adopt a recommendation by Asean environment ministers for a transboundary haze monitoring system to make plantation companies accountable for causing haze in the region.
The 23rd Asean Summit chairman, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, said the leaders acknowledged the report of the 10th Asean Social-Cultural Community meeting of Indonesian, Malaysian and Singaporean foreign ministers in Brunei last month, which coincided with an informal meeting of Asean environment ministers in Surabaya, Indonesia.
He said they also welcomed the adoption of the recommendation of the 14th Informal Asean Ministerial Meeting on the Environment for an Asean Sub-Regional Haze Monitoring System, as a joint haze monitoring system among Sub-Regional Ministerial Steering Committee on Transboundary Haze Pollution countries.
The leaders also took note of the outcome of the trilateral meeting on transboundary haze between Indonesian, Malaysian and Singaporean foreign ministers on the sidelines of the Asean Foreign Ministers Retreat in Hua Hin, Thailand in August.
We also welcomed Indonesias commitment to the ratification of the Asean Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution and looked forward to Indonesias ratification of the agreement as soon as possible, he said in a statement today.
On Wednesday, on the sidelines of the 23rd Asean Summit, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Indonesia President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono had a brief meeting to discuss the issue of the Asean haze monitoring system.
It is understood the meeting lasted about 10 minutes.
Lee, in welcoming the adoption of the ASEAN Sub-Regional Haze Monitoring System, told Singaporea media at the summit, that it was a concrete example of cooperation and the approval of the haze monitoring system would allow countries to implement it and track down those responsible for causing the haze.
It was reported that under the Singapore-developed system, governments in the region will share satellite data to pinpoint fires and identify companies, most of them palm-oil producers, that own the affected land.
Yudhoyono, in June, had to issue an apology for the haze that blanketed Singapore and Malaysia, that saw Najib declaring emergency in Muar and Ledang districts in Johor after API readings in the two areas surpassed the 750 mark.
Schools in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Malacca, Segamat, Johor and Kuantan in Pahang were also ordered to close.
It was reported that Indonesia would ratify the Asean Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution by year-end or early next year.
Its Environment Minister Prof Dr Balthashar Kambuaya was quoted as saying that the matter would be discussed in the Indonesian Parliament for a final decision
“From our government’s side, it is ready. The Indonesian Government has signed the agreement but we have to discuss it in Parliament,” he said after a three-day task force meeting to seek a solution to the haze problem in Kuala Lumpur in July.