Asean plots haze-free future by 2020

PARIS – The Asean region is looking to become a haze-free zone by 2020, but reducing forest fires and fossil-fuel use causing the regional problem will take time, said Southeast Asian officials meeting on the sidelines of the international climate conference here.

Speaking at a news conference on Dec 2, Asean Secretariat representative Ampai Harakunarak said Southeast Asian countries set the ambitious 2020 goal as the have been under pressure since the 90s to solve their transborder haze problem, which includes large volumes of carbon dioxide.

Mekong nations to set up EIA working group

In the statement released today, the Mekong Regional Technical Working Group for EIA brings together governments, civil society organisations (CSOs), and will expand to cover private sector and EIA experts to improve regional cooperation for effective EIA policy and practices. The group aims to reduce the social and environmental impacts of regional infrastructure projects, particularly as the upcoming Association of Southeast Nations (Asean) Economic Community further hastens trans-boundary investments.

Across Borders, Southeast Asia Builds a Governance Platform

For the past two and a half years, NRGI partners in Southeast Asia have worked together to create their very own, and very first, regional guide to governance in the extractive sector.

The Framework for Extractive Industries Governance in ASEAN, available here in English, helps member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations address governance challenges they face as they manage natural resource wealth to meet important development goals for current and future generations.

Haze Fines Win Indonesia’s Support With Caveats: Southeast Asia

The incoming president of Indonesia, a holdout in Southeast Asia’s pact to fight haze, is backing Singapore’s plan to wield heftier fines against overseas polluters as long as sovereignty is respected.

A year after the city-state endured its worst-ever air quality, Singapore presented a bill to Parliament this month that subjects foreign companies to as much as S$2 million ($1.6 million) in fines for illegal emissions, up from S$300,000 before. Indonesia and Singapore have a long-standing dispute over the haze that blows in from land-clearing fires in Sumatra.

Asean Not Strong Enough to Fight Haze In Southeast Asia?

Every year for the last 23 years, a part of Southeast Asia has been under a thick haze. Yet, in all these years Asean has not been able to get rid of this man-made health and environmental problem. It is not because Asean does not want to. The number of action plans, meetings and pledges show that the haze in Southeast Asia is high priority but the problem is it all gets stuck at the planning or verbalisation stage.

Indonesia: Participatory approach needed to overcome haze

Indonesia needs to take a participatory approach where the central government, local administrations, non-governmental organizations, research institutions and the local people work together to resolve the annual haze problem, which often disturbed neighboring countries.

"In addition to a participatory approach, there should also be a political approach and scientific research on how to handle it," Asmin Amin, a member of Commission VII of the House of Representatives (DPR) on environment Affairs, said recently.