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SIIA announces launch of haze tracking portal

07 Nov SIIA announces launch of haze tracking portal

The Singapore Institute of International Affairs (SIIA) has announced the launch of a haze tracking portal. This was revealed at the SIIA’s Haze Roundtable on 6 Nov 2014, a dialogue involving academics, private sector representatives, and NGOs from around the region. The portal, which is expected to be ready by the first quarter of next year, complements similar efforts by the World Resource Institute and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). Satellite images, hotspot coordinates and concession maps will be made available for the public to know who is responsible for forest fires.

Below are excerpts from media coverage about the haze tracking portal.

Think-tank to launch haze tracking portal next year [Channel NewsAsia, 6 Nov 2014]

By Hetty Musfirah Abdul Khamid

SINGAPORE: The Singapore Institute of International Affairs (SIIA) is looking to launch a haze tracking portal to plug the information gap, in efforts to clamp down on errant parties causing transboundary haze affecting the region.

SIIA’s chairman, Simon Tay, said: “First is to source the map. So that is why we brought some experts and NGOs (non-governmental organisations) who have access or can get access to those maps. The second is to do our best to have a panel that will kind of verify the maps, to knock out the ones that are obviously wrong and then to put them up.”

He added: “At this present time, governments have asked for a haze monitoring system, but because Indonesia and Malaysia would not release official maps, the government and ASEAN cannot move. We are then left with a large number of western NGOs that have got some maps and then of course, some companies who release their own maps.

“So in that sense, we do not have an ASEAN base – a fairly neutral player who is neither a company nor a true NGO – to really have a consolidated portal with some effort to verify the information on that portal. So that is where a think-tank like SIIA can try to help.”

Singapore think-tank plans to host haze portal [The Online Citizen, 6 Nov 2014]

Singapore, 6 November 2014 – The Singapore Institute of International Affairs (SIIA) will work with Indonesian, Malaysian and Singapore experts, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and agribusiness companies to gather more information about the causes of the haze, and sites where the fires burn.

The efforts aim to combine real-time thermal hotspots, wind direction, land use and, where possible, concession maps on a dynamic online platform. This will allow law enforcers, environmental activists, commodity buyers and traders, journalists and any interested member of the public to analyse the source of the haze as it hits. This online portal will also host commentaries, reports and videos on the subject of transboundary haze.

Announcing the initiative at the SIIA Haze Roundtable “Beyond politics: Facilitating ground-up initiatives”, the SIIA Chairman Simon Tay said the effort runs ahead of the governments for good reason.

“Until ASEAN governments can move things forward with the joint haze monitoring system (HMS), there is a need to plug an information gap in collaboration with our NGO and corporate partners,” said Professor Tay. “We believe reliable and transparent information is crucial if we want to deter slash-and-burn and other unsustainable practices in the resource sector,” he added.

Other Reports

Anti-haze body eyes launch of tracking portal [Business Times, 7 Nov 2014] (Requires Login)