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No agreement on concession maps at ASEAN haze meeting

SINGAPORE — The 16th sub-regional ministerial steering committee meeting between ASEAN’s environment minsters concluded this afternoon (April 2) in Brunei with the impasse on the sharing of concession maps still not breached.

No agreement on concession maps at ASEAN haze meeting

The haze shrouded Singapore on Jun 17, 2013. TODAY file photo

SINGAPORE — The 16th sub-regional ministerial steering committee meeting between ASEAN’s environment minsters concluded this afternoon (April 2) in Brunei with the impasse on the sharing of concession maps still not breached.

A joint statement released after the meeting said that countries have been urged to share hotspot areas that cause transboundary haze on a government-to-government basis instead.

Speaking to Singapore media after the meeting, Minister for Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan described the meeting as “tough”, with “many contentious moments” as each of the five countries discussed solutions to tackle the transboundary haze that has plagued the region annually.

While he acknowledged that Indonesia has made considerable efforts in the progress to ratify the ASEAN agreement on transboundary haze, Dr Balakrishan said he was “frustrated by the slow progress and disappointed at the lack of transparency” by governments in their unwillingness to share their countries’ concession maps publicly.

During the meeting, Dr Balakrishnan also shared Singapore’s plans to pass a Bill on transboundary haze pollution, adding that he offered to explain to Indonesia the “details, principles and thinking behind this idea” for a more effective collaboration to solve transboundary haze.

Efforts to renew the Singapore-Indonesia collaboration in Jambi are also being finalised.

Dr Balakrishnan also added that Singapore’s offers of assistance to Malaysia and Indonesia to put out fires on the ground remains on the table.

Meteorologists have predicted that the weather phenomenon known as El Nino is likely to develop in the second half of this year, which may lead to a worst bout of haze returning during periods of dry weather conditions.

This story was filed on a Samsung tablet

http://www.samsung.com.sg

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