The 24th Meeting of the Sub-Regional Ministerial Steering Committee on Transboundary Haze Pollution (24th MSC) was held in the Republic of Singapore, yesterday.
The meeting was attended by ministers, officials, and representatives from Brunei Darussalam, the Republic of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Republic of Singapore, and the Kingdom of Thailand.
Representatives from Brunei Darussalam were attended by Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Muhammad Juanda bin Haji Abdul Rashid, Minister of Development.
At the meeting, the Minister of Development shared that Brunei Darussalam’s air quality was good with a pollutant standard index (PSI) below 50. The favorable wind conditions and intermittent showers and rains have lessened the impact of the hazy conditions in the Sultanate.
With the potential of hot and dry weather in the coming months due to El Nino developing this year, the Minister urged the Sub-Regional Ministerial Steering Committee on Transboundary Haze Pollution Countries (MSC) to continue working closely together and further strengthen regional cooperation towards preventing haze pollution.
The 24th Meeting of the Technical Working Group on Transboundary Haze Pollution (24th TWG) preceded the meeting.
According to JASTRe, the meeting noted the ASEAN Specialised Meteorological Centre’s (ASMC) weather and smoke haze review, as well as the outlook for the southern ASEAN region. Hotspot counts detected in January to May were around 16 percent lower than in January to May 2022 for the southern ASEAN region.
Based on current climate models, ASMC forecasts a 70 to 80 percent chance for El Nino conditions to develop between June to September 2023 and for a positive Indian Ocean Dipole to develop between June and July 2023.
The MSC countries pledged to stay vigilant and intensify their fire monitoring and haze preventive efforts to minimize the occurrence of transboundary smoke haze during drier periods. The MSC countries reaffirmed their readiness to provide assistance in emergency response situations and to collaborate among MSC countries with enhanced cooperation and coordination to mitigate land and forest fires.
The meeting stressed the need to pursue the finalization of the Establishment Agreement of the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Transboundary Haze Pollution Control (ACC THPC) in Indonesia and resume the discussion on the Host Country Agreement for timely finalization.
The meeting reiterated the call for expeditious establishment and operationalization of the ACC THPC to facilitate faster and more effective implementation of all aspects of the AATHP.