Dr. McDowell and Dr. Lim also asked for an update on our cooperation with Indonesia on transboundary haze,pollution and ASEAN efforts to tackle this issue. Progress on this front has not been rapid. I will highlight three points.
First, ASEAN countries agreed to the ASEAN sub-regional haze monitoring system (HMS),which will allow us to better pinpoint those responsible for the haze. But we have not yet been able to implement the HMS even though the system is ready ,because the other parties have yet to agree to do so.
The credibility of ASEAN, of course, is at stake.
Second, there was a media report on 4th March,that mentioned that the majority of an Indonesian parliamentary commission was in principle supportive of the ASEAN agreement on transboundary haze pollution.
That is welcome news as the other ASEAN countries have ratified the agreement. Thus, once Indonesia, agrees the treaty can come into force.
Third, we have had reasonably successful cooperation on the ground with Jambi province through a Letter of Intent (LOI) between Singapore and Indonesia.
We provided assistance and technical capacity building and workshops setting up of air and weather monitoring stations amongst others.
This MOU lapsed in 2009.,We have suggested to Indonesia that we renew the LOI.
Our respective officials have met several times. Jambi province is keen for the LOI to be signed and for cooperation to continue.
This could help on the ground by providing technical assistance and capacity building capabilities to equip local farmers with alternative land cleaning methods, sustainable farming and zero burning practices.
We are waiting for final approval from the relevant authorities in Jakarta before the cooperation can be resumed.