PM Lee welcomes Asean's adoption of joint haze monitoring system

PM Lee welcomes Asean's adoption of joint haze monitoring system

SINGAPORE - Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has welcomed ASEAN's decision to adopt a joint haze monitoring system (HMS) at the regional grouping's summit now taking place in Brunei, calling it a "concrete example of cooperation".

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Here is the full joint statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources:

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Law K Shanmugam, and Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, spoke with the media today on : (i) the adoption of the ASEAN Haze Monitoring System (HMS) by the ASEAN Leaders at the 23rd ASEAN Summit in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei; and (ii) the trilateral meeting on transboundary haze between the Leaders of Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore held immediately after the 23rd ASEAN Summit.

Minister Balakrishnan said that the ASEAN Leaders had approved the recommendation of the 14th Informal ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on the Environment (IAMME) to adopt the HMS as a joint haze monitoring system among the five countries in the Sub-Regional Ministerial Steering Committee (MSC) on Transboundary Haze Pollution, with digitized land use maps and concession maps of fire-prone areas that cause transboundary haze to be shared on a Government-to-Government basis. Minister Balakrishnan hoped that the relevant ministries of the MSC countries will take prompt action, as committed by the Environment Ministers at the 14th IAAME.

Minister Shanmugam said that the ASEAN Leaders had noted and agreed with the outcomes of the trilateral meeting among the three Foreign Ministers in Hua Hin on 14 August 2013. Minister Shanmugam also shared on the outcomes of the trilateral meeting between the three Leaders after the Summit. Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong thanked Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak for approving the HMS initiative. In addition, Prime Minister Lee recalled the agreement with President Yudhoyono during their Leaders' retreat in April 2013, to renew the bilateral environmental cooperation in Jambi province, Indonesia. Prime Minister Lee suggested expanding this cooperation to other provinces in Sumatra, and that the three countries explore new areas for trilateral cooperation which would help to address the root causes of the fires which cause the haze. Prime Minister Lee said that the Leaders should direct their Ministers to follow up on these initiatives. The three Leaders agreed to work closely together to mitigate future occurrences of haze.

The Ministers highlighted that these positive outcomes demonstrate ASEAN and the three countries' commitment to intensify their cooperative efforts to address transboundary haze pollution.

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