ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
PM Lee welcomes adoption of ASEAN haze monitoring system
SINGAPORE: Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has welcomed the adoption of the ASEAN Sub-Regional Haze Monitoring System at the Brunei summit.
He said this is a concrete example of cooperation and the approval of the haze monitoring system will allow countries to implement it and track down those responsible for causing the haze.
Mr Lee made these points during the ASEAN Summit opening session on Wednesday amongst the 10 leaders of the grouping.
He explained that it is important for ASEAN's credibility to collectively address the haze issue and he looks forward to Indonesia ratifying the ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution.
After the main summit, Mr Lee, together with Malaysian Premier Najib Razak and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, met and discussed the issue of the ASEAN haze monitoring system.
It is understood the meeting lasted about 10 minutes.
Mr Lee said he thanked his Malaysian and Indonesian counterparts for their cooperation for the project and expressed Singapore's willingness to work with them to implement the system and take the cooperation beyond the haze monitoring system.
This includes working with farmers to encourage them to work in a more sustainable and environmentally-friendly way as Singapore had worked with Indonesia’s Jambi province in the past.
Singapore is willing to go beyond Jambi to other provinces too, said Mr Lee.
Speaking to the Singapore media in Brunei, Singapore's Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan said the environment ministers had been waiting for formal approval from the leaders.
Dr Balakrishnan said the approval has now been obtained at the ASEAN level and from the leaders of Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia on implementing the ASEAN haze monitoring system.
Dr Balakrishnan also said the system and platform are ready and what is needed now is the data from the relevant ministries of the countries so that there can be accurate digitised concession maps.
He explained: "Ultimately it depends on local data, local investigations and local enforcement. Having an ASEAN monitoring system adds another area. The key point is to send the message to all the companies that there are many eyes watching them and they will be held accountable for their activities on the ground and we need everyone and to use the words of Prime Minister Najib - we will work together."
Dr Balakrishnan hopes to see the ASEAN haze monitoring system go into effect as soon as possible.--By S Ramesh
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