MEDIA RELEASE: 12th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution

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11 August 2016, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 

  1. Ministers responsible for the environment from ASEAN Member States (AMS) held their 12th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution (COP-12 AATHP) on 11 August 2016 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
  2. The Ministers reaffirmed the commitment to effectively implement the ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution (AATHP) to prevent and monitor transboundary haze pollution resulting from land and forest fires through concerted national efforts and regional cooperation. The Ministers also commended the significant progress in the implementation of activities/programmes of the Agreement, among others, the progress in the establishment of the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Transboundary Haze Pollution Control (ACC THPC) and the proposed study on the economic, health and social impact of haze in 2015 in the ASEAN region.
  3. The Ministers adopted the Roadmap on ASEAN Cooperation towards Transboundary Haze Pollution Control with Means of Implementation. The Roadmap will serve as a strategic framework for the implementation of the collaborative actions to control transboundary haze pollution in the ASEAN region to achieve a vision of Transboundary Haze-free ASEAN by 2020.
  4. The Ministers noted the ASEAN Specialised Meteorological Centre’s (ASMC’s) weather outlook for the ASEAN region for the coming months, in particular, the prevailing Neutral (neither El Nino nor La Nina) conditions and the chance of La Nina conditions developing in the third quarter of 2016. Rainfall was expected to be normal to above normal however, it was also noted that periods of drier weather can still be expected during the peak of the traditional dry season in the southern ASEAN region between August and September 2016. The AMS pledged to remain vigilant and continuously monitor and step up their haze preventive efforts to minimise any possible occurrence of transboundary smoke haze from land and forest fires in anticipation of the drier weather in the southern ASEAN region in the next few months.
  5. In view of the predicted regional weather and haze outlook, the Ministers urged AMS to remain vigilant and continuously monitor and step up their haze preventive efforts to minimise any possible occurrence of transboundary smoke haze from land and forest fires in anticipation of the drier weather in the next few months.
  6. The Ministers underlined the need for AMS to place priority and commitment to resolve the haze problem within the expected targets and timelines as adopted in countries’ action plan.
  7. The Ministers noted the significant progress by AMS on the operationalization of Alert Levels and Trigger Points for Fire Prevention and Suppression under the revised Standard Operating Procedure for Monitoring, Assessment and Joint Emergency Response as to prevent recurrence of transboundary haze pollution.
  8. The Ministers reaffirmed their endorsement of Indonesia’s intention to host the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Transboundary Haze Pollution Control (ACC THPC) and further mandated Indonesia to continue to work on the draft of Establishment Agreement of the ACC THPC.
  9. The Ministers called for AMS to utilise the mechanism under the AATHP to mobilise the Panel of ASEAN Experts on Fire and Haze Assessment and Coordination to assess the fire situation on the ground and further recommend the external fire assistance required.
  10. The Ministers noted that majority of ASEAN Member States have contributed to the ASEAN Transboundary Haze Pollution Control Fund towards realising the pledge of providing an initial seed contribution of US$500,000 for the Fund. The Ministers welcomed contributions from other partners to the Fund.
  11. The Ministers noted the substantive progress of the development of the successor ASEAN Programme on Sustainable Management of Peatland Ecosystems – APSMPE (2014-2020), and the encouraging response and support from ASEAN dialogue and development partners. The Ministers renewed their commitment to implement this regional Programme through ASEAN mechanisms, enhanced national level efforts and multi-stakeholder partnership.
  12. The Ministers noted the initiatives by Sub-regional Ministerial Steering Committee on Transboundary Haze Pollution (MSC) countries to take the necessary actions in order to operationalise the ASEAN Sub-regional Haze Monitoring System (HMS). In the meantime, the Ministers encouraged MSC countries to share information on hotspots that cause transboundary haze on Government-to-Government basis.
  13. The Ministers responsible for the environment will meet again in 2017 in Brunei Darussalam on the occasion of the 13th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution (COP-13).

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