MEDIA RELEASE: 14th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the ASEAN Agreement ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution

1. Ministers responsible for the environment, for land, forest fires and haze, from ASEAN Member States (AMS), held their 14th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution on 5 October 2018 in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar.

2. The Ministers reviewed the implementation of the ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution (AATHP) and reaffirmed their commitment through concerted national efforts and regional cooperation to fully and effectively implement the AATHP and the Roadmap on ASEAN Cooperation towards Transboundary Haze Pollution Control with Means of Implementation to achieve a Haze-Free ASEAN by 2020. The Ministers commended the various initiatives and actions undertaken by ASEAN Member States and noted with appreciation the continuous efforts in strengthening national capabilities and regional cooperation in assessment, prevention, mitigation and management of land and/or forest fires and the resulting haze.

3. The Ministers were updated on the ASEAN Specialised Meteorological Centres (ASMC’s) review and outlook of the weather and smoke haze situation for the ASEAN region. The Ministers noted ASMC’s update that models from major climate centres forecast a 70% chance of weak El Nino conditions developing toward the end of the year while current conditions remained neutral (neither El Nino nor La Nina). In terms of weather outlook, the onset of the Northeast Monsoon in the coming months is expected bring a transition to the traditional dry season in the northern ASEAN region, and conversely a transition to the traditional rainy season in the southern ASEAN region. Rainfall is expected to be below-normal and near-normal for the northern and southern ASEAN regions respectively, and temperature is forecast to be above-normal across the region. A gradual increase in hotspot activities can be expected in the northern ASEAN region with the transition to the dry season. In the southern ASEAN region, sporadic increases in hotspot activities can still be expected during dry periods in the coming weeks. With the onset of the traditional rainy season in November 2018, an increase in shower activities are expected to help keep hotspot activities subdued. 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 during periods of drier weather.

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