Government officials and civil society representatives are holding a series of meetings in Brunei on haze pollution in the region, as well as related environment issues.
Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan is representing Singapore at the events on Tuesday and Wednesday, 8-9 May, along with his counterparts from Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.
The two key events are the 13th Meeting of the Sub-Regional Ministerial Steering Committee on Transboundary Haze Pollution (13th MSC Meeting) and the 2nd Sub-Regional Ministerial Steering Committee on Transboundary Haze Forum (2nd MSC Forum).
Singapore is currently chairing the MSC from 2010 to 2012. The Singapore Ministry of Environment and Water Resources, along with the Singapore Institute of International Affairs, are serving as strategic partners to Brunei''s Ministry of Development for this year''s MSC Forum.
Officials are reviewing and enhancing measures to monitor, prevent and mitigate land and forest fires in the southern ASEAN region. At the MSC Forum, non-governmental stakeholders are also sharing their experiences in fire prevention, conservation, and other key issues.
But while governments and NGOs are making progress on the haze problem, SIIA Chairman Simon Tay has warned that more needs to be done. "The haze will return. Even if dialogues continue, so will fires."
"At the 2nd Ministerial Steering Committee Forum on Transboundary Haze currently being held in Brunei, stakeholders including ministers, provincial governors, private sector representatives, NGOs and industry experts and academics discussed innovative solutions and approaches. But problems of incentives, regulations and funding for projects persist. The bilateral pilot projects in Indonesia by Singapore in Jambi and Malaysia in Riau are winding down."