Ministers renew pledge to clear haze

National 1 minute, 50 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

SEVERAL ministers responsible for the environment in ASEAN pledged to remain vigilant and continue to monitor and step up their haze prevention efforts to minimise any occurrences of transboundary smoke haze in the region.

During the 18th Meeting of the Sub-Regional Ministerial Steering Committee (MSC) on Transboundary Haze Pollution yesterday in Singapore, the ministers from Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand said El Nino is expected to return to neutral conditions by the middle of 2016, and with a chance of La Nina developing in the third quarter of 2016. The ministers said normal to above normal rainfall can be expected for the region.

The ministers said sustainable and long-term efforts to prevent land and forest fires are critical to address the challenges of climate change.

The ministers aim to prevent and monitor the pollution through concerted national efforts, and regional and international cooperation.

The ministers then reaffirmed their commitment to effectively implement the ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution to prevent and monitor transboundary haze pollution.

The ministers went on to encourage MSC countries to take actions to operationalise the ASEASN Sub-Regional Haze Monitoring System.

The ministers also encouraged the MSC countries to continue to share information on a government-to-government basis on hotspot areas that gave rise to transboundary haze.

With the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Transboundary Haze Pollution Control (ACC) hosted by Indonesia on April 28, 2016, the ministers hopes to see faster and more effective implementations of all aspects of the ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution after the ACC is operational.

The ministers also said a regional study on economic, health and social impact of haze in 2015 is crucial for ASEAN countries to assess the implication of the 2015 haze incident as it would help them understand the impact of transboundary haze.

Concluding the meeting, the ministers look forward to the ASEAN Leaders’ guidance for ASEAN Member States to achieve the vision of a Haze-Free ASEAN by 2020.

According to a statement by the Ministry of Development (MoD), the Deputy Minister of Development Dato Paduka Hj Suhaimi Hj Gafar was present to represent the sultanate.

Also representing Brunei were senior officials from the ministry, Ministry of Home Affairs and the Department of Fire and Rescue.

The Brunei Times