| James Kon |
DESPITE the dry spell in the region, there has been no severe transboundary haze pollution from land and forest fires.
However, Asean member countries should remain vigilant to the potential of less favourable weather circumstances in the coming period which will again test the preparedness and responsiveness to the likelihood of land and forest fires as we encounter a dry spell.
The call to stay vigilant was made by Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Bahrin bin Abdullah, Minister of Development in his opening remark as the President of the 13th Conference of the Parties (COP-13) to the Asean Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution (AATHP) yesterday afternoon at the International Convention Centre, Berakas.
Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Bahrin expressed gratitude to Allah the Almighty for the prevailing favourable weather in the region, while applauding “the continuous efforts made by the respective Asean member countries in their roles which contribute to addressing the issues of land and forest fires in the region, towards ensuring an Asean haze-free region by 2020”.
“I am confident that if we step up our efforts and work together, we will be better able to collectively address and contain the problem,” he added.
Brunei Darussalam’s delegations were led by Dato Seri Paduka Awang Haji Suhaimi bin Haji Gafar, Deputy Minister of Development.
The AATHP aims to prevent and monitor transboundary haze pollution as a result of land and/or forest fires, which need to be mitigated through coordinated and concerted national efforts and intense regional and international cooperation.
The agreement was signed on June 10, 2002, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, entered into force in 2003, and is managed by the Asean Ministers of Environment and representatives from the Asean member countries.