21st Meeting of the Steering Committee on Transboundary Haze Pollution

The Ministers attending the 21st Meeting of the Sub-Regional Ministerial Steering Committee on Transboundary Haze Pollution (MSC) yesterday noted the weather outlook information presented by the ASEAN Specialised Meteorological Centre (ASMC) for this dry season, that drier and warmer conditions in the southern ASEAN region were expected between August and October 2019. In addition, neutral (neither El-NiAo nor La-NiAa) conditions were forecast. The drier and warmer weather could lead to an escalation of hotspot activities and increase the risk of transboundary haze occurrence in the region. MSC countries pledged to remain vigilant and to monitor and step up their haze preventive efforts to minimise any possible occurrence of transboundary smoke haze during periods of drier weather.

The Ministers noted ASMC's continual efforts in updating its technical capabilities to better serve the ASEAN region in monitoring, assessment and provision of early warning for transboundary haze occurrence. This involved significant and sustained investment by ASMC in an expert team of operational meteorologists performing 24/7 monitoring and assessment of regional weather and haze, and research scientists working on advanced weather and climate prediction models, as well as supercomputing resources.

The Ministers also noted with appreciation various initiatives and actions by MSC countries to address the transboundary haze pollution in the region. The MSC countries reaffirmed their readiness to provide assistance such as deployment of the technical resources for firefighting assistance on emergency response situation, if requested, and to collaborate among MSC countries with enhanced cooperation and coordination to mitigate land and forest fires, when necessary. The Ministers reaffirmed the commitment to the objectives and principles of the ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution and the Roadmap on ASEAN Cooperation towards Transboundary Haze Pollution Control with Means of Implementation towards a haze-free ASEAN by 2020. The Ministers further noted the likelihood of the warmer and drier conditions this year and therefore called for timely actions of national and local agencies to prevent land and/or forest fires and haze pollution arising from such fires.

Source: Radio Television Brunei

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