Transboundary haze: Singapore seeks Indonesia’s cooperation on ASEAN agreement

NG JING YNG Today Online 10 May 14;

Nay Pyi Taw (Myanmar) – Singapore has sought Indonesia’s cooperation on ratifying the ASEAN agreement on transboundary haze pollution during the foreign ministers’ meeting at the 24th ASEAN Summit, said Foreign Minister K Shanmugam today (May 10).

The ASEAN foreign ministers have also agreed to issue a joint statement on the South China Sea situation, said Mr Shanmugam, who spoke to the media after this morning’s meeting.

On the haze issue, Mr Shanmugam said that Singapore pointed out that the progress on the implementation of the ASEAN haze monitoring system has not been rapid enough. This is of concern as the El Nino dry conditions could be back in the second half of the year and would exacerbate the haze situation later in Singapore, he noted.

Mr Shanmugam, who is also law minister, also further touched on the South China Sea issue. He told reporters that there was a unanimous agreement by ASEAN foreign ministers to issue a statement to express concern on the recent turn of events.

On Singapore’s position, he said that Singapore agreed on having a statement and noted the benefit of peace for the entire region. Issuing such a statement also emphasises the urgency to conclude on a Code of Conduct on the South China Sea, added Mr Shanmugam.

Singapore urges Indonesia to ratify ASEAN haze treaty
Robin Chan The Straits Times AsiaOne 13 May 14;

NAY PYI TAW, Myanmar - Singapore has again called on Indonesia to ratify the ASEAN treaty on transboundary haze pollution and asked for cooperation on a haze monitoring system, at a foreign ministers' meeting here yesterday.

Singapore Foreign Minister K. Shanmugam told reporters: "We welcomed the Indonesian President's active intervention to deal with the issue earlier this year.

"But there are many signs that the El Nino phenomenon will come back in the second half and that could exacerbate the situation, so we hope that Indonesia could ratify the ASEAN treaty on transboundary haze pollution."

Mr Shanmugam, who is also Law Minister, said Singapore pointed out that progress on the implementation of the ASEAN Haze Monitoring System has, "to put it mildly", not been particularly rapid.

"We are ready and willing. The monitoring system will help identify the perpetrators and bring them to justice.

"So we are really hoping, asking for cooperation on that."

The ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution was signed in June 2002. Of the ASEAN 10, Indonesia is the only country which has yet to ratify the treaty.

Indonesia's Parliament looks set to ratify the agreement this year after holding out for more than a decade.

The next step will be for the Indonesian government to table the draft Bill for Parliament to ratify the pact before a full session of Parliament, after its April elections.

The ASEAN members also approved a joint haze monitoring system last October.

The $100,000 monitoring system was developed by Singapore.

It is expected to make use of land concession maps from each country, hot spot data and high resolution satellite images to identify companies responsible for burning land illegally.