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30 October 2009

Asean working group to tackle haze problem

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Asean environment ministers have formed a working group on climate change, to be chaired by Thailand, reported Singapore’s Channel News Asia.

The body aims to promote closer regional cooperation and more effective regional response to the climate change situation. The Asean environment ministers gathered on Thursday at the eleventh Asean Ministerial Meeting on the Environment, chaired by Singapore, to discuss measures to counter trans-boundary haze in the region.

This came after the Ministerial Steering Committee (MSC) met to discuss the haze issue on Wednesday. The meeting was attended by representatives from the various governments, international organisations as well as the private sector.

The Asean ministers also expressed appreciation to the Singapore government for hosting the MSC forum on "Prevention and Mitigation of Land and Forest Fires" and together they agreed to host the event annually with the venue being rotated amongst the various member states.

Indonesia is one of the member states, which has yet to ratify the Asean Agreement on Trans-boundary Haze Pollution.

"In our regulations, it should be approved by the Parliament. We have already put it to the Parliament, but the members have not agreed to it yet. So with the new Parliament members, we want to continue to give it to Parliament again for their approval," said Liana Bratasida, Assistant Minister, Indonesia Ministry of Environment.

Asean ministers also agreed to adopt a Singapore resolution on environmental sustainability and climate change. Representatives from the ten member states will meet their counterparts from Japan, China and South Korea on Friday, to discuss cooperative environmental projects and other possible areas of collaboration.


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