Jakarta – ASEAN heads of state have agreed to establish an ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Transboundary Haze Pollution Control (ACCTHPC), located at the Indonesia’s Ministry of Environment and Forestry building in Jakarta.
The ACCTHPC will be headed by an executive director with the assistance of three divisions, namely the monitoring and assessment division, technical cooperation division and knowledge management division.
The centre was inaugurated by President Joko Widodo accompanied by ASEAN Secretary-General Kao Kim Hourn, and Minister of Environment and Forestry Siti Nurbaya, during the opening ceremony of the 43rd ASEAN Summit in Jakarta, Tuesday, 5 September.
According to Siti Nurbaya, the establishment of the ACCTHPC was agreed by the ASEAN Heads of State during the 18th Conference of the Parties (COP) of the ASEAN Agreement for Transboundary Haze Pollution (COP- AATHP) in Vientien, Lao PDR on 28 August.
Member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) signed the ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution, a legally binding environmental agreement, in 2002. The agreement was a response to the extensive forest and land fires that ravaged the Indonesian island of Kalimantan in 1997 and 1998. The El Niño phenomenon exacerbated the situation, sending the billowing haze to other parts of the region. Malaysia, Singapore, and, to some extent, Thailand and Brunei were significantly affected. Indonesia was the last to ratify the agreement in 2014. (Hartatik)
Banner photo: Singapore – 8th September, 2015: Haze fills the downtown area. Haze is caused by the forest fire and burning of plantation in Indonesia. (shutterstock.com)