Jakarta has to tackle haze 'on three fronts'

Jakarta has to tackle haze 'on three fronts'

INDONESIA - As ministers from five Asean countries prepared to meet on Wednesday to discuss the haze issue, Indonesian officials and forest campaigners said Jakarta has to get its act together on three fronts.

The Asean meeting in Kuala Lumpur was brought forward to this week after forest fires in Sumatra blanketed Singapore and parts of Malaysia with thick haze last month.

Indonesian authorities are being urged to commit to completion of the One Map initiative.

This aims to mark all forest boundaries and concessions clearly on one official map, which will improve transparency and accountability, and also minimise land disputes.

Second, the authorities should cut through confusing and overlapping regulations by assigning clear responsibilities for law enforcement.

Third, they should adopt a carrot-and-stick approach towards farmers and companies whose slash-and-burn method of clearing land gives rise to the haze.

The suggestions are not exactly new but getting them off the ground has taken on a new urgency since last month's haze.

The One Map initiative, for instance, has been around since late 2010 when President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono called for different maps being used by the National Agency for Land Administration, Forestry Ministry and Agriculture Ministry to be integrated.

Haze in Singapore & Malaysia
Click on thumbnail to view (Photos: ST, TNP, The Star, AFP, Reuters)

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