ASEAN Officials Call for Cooperation on Haze Prevention

“If each country goes back and really tries to mitigate the issue, I am sure ASEAN will be able to commit” to [be] haze-free [by] 2020,” said Varawut Silpa-archa, Thailand's Natural Resources and Environment Minister.

Southeast Asia’s top environmental officials are questioning the likelihood of seeing the region haze-free by 2020 as smoke from Indonesian forest fires continues to reduce visibility and increase health worries.

ASEAN members signed an agreement on transboundary haze pollution in 2002, which went into force in 2003. It binds the bloc to tackle transboundary haze pollution resulting from land and forest fires.

“The vision of haze free ASEAN by 2020 is approaching,” Cambodia’s Minister of Environment, Say Samal said today, as the nation hosts the four-day 15th ASEAN Ministerial meeting in Siem Reap, near the Angkor Wat temple. “As we move closer to this target date, we need to step up our efforts, and work collectively and progressively to prevent transboundary smoke haze pollution.”

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