Ministers responsible for the environment, for land, forest fires and haze, from ASEAN Member States (AMS), held their 14th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on the Environment and 13th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution on 12 September 2017 in Brunei Darussalam. The Ministers reviewed regional cooperation on a number of environmental issues, in particular actions taken on environmental sustainability under the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC) Blueprint, and discussed new initiatives to further promote environmental cooperation in the region.
The Ministers noted the ASEAN Specialised Meteorological Centre’s (ASMC’s) weather outlook for the ASEAN region for the coming months, in particular, the prevailing Neutral (neither El Nino nor La Nina) conditions are forecast to persist for the rest of 2017. Rainfall for the region is forecast to be normal in the coming months. However, it was also noted that periods of drier weather can still be expected in the southern ASEAN region between September and early October 2017. The Ministers urged AMS to remain vigilant and continuously monitor and step up their haze preventive efforts to minimise any possible occurrence of transboundary smoke haze from land and forest fires during periods of drier weather.
The Ministers reaffirmed their commitment through concerted national efforts and regional cooperation to fully and effectively implement the ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution (AATHP) and the Roadmap on ASEAN Cooperation towards Transboundary Haze Pollution Control with Means of Implementation to achieve a Haze-Free ASEAN by 2020. The Ministers commended the various initiatives and actions taken by ASEAN Member States and underscored the importance of stepping up technical cooperation to effectively implement the AATHP and the Roadmap in their entirety to increase the preparedness for and to mitigate the risks to human health and the environment arising from land and/or forest fires or haze pollution arising from such fires.
The Ministers agreed to conduct and looked forward to a mid-term review of the implementation of the Roadmap, at their next Meeting, to take stock of the progress and sustain momentum in ensuring demonstrable improvements so as to achieve the vision of a haze-free ASEAN by 2020. The Ministers noted the endorsement of the Sub-Regional Ministerial Steering Committee on Transboundary Haze Pollution in the Mekong Sub-Region (MSC Mekong) of the Chiang Rai 2017 Plan of Action to identify a common set of priorities for the implementation of the Roadmap and encouraged further collaboration among MSC Mekong countries and synergies with other initiatives under AATHP.
The Ministers reiterated their full support to Indonesia in hosting the ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Transboundary Haze Pollution Control (ACC THPC), and noted with appreciation the on-going consultative process towards the finalisation of the Establishment Agreement and Host Country Agreement of the ACC THPC. The Ministers looked forward to faster and more effective implementation of all aspects of the AATHP after the ACC THPC is operational.
The Ministers noted the development of the Measurable Action for Haze-Free Sustainable Land Management in Southeast Asia (MAHFSA) supported by International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). The Ministers appreciated the valuable support and interest expressed by the Dialogue Partners and other external parties, and looked forward to their continued support of the implementation of the programmes/projects under ASEAN Programme on Sustainable Management of Peatland Ecosystems – APSMPE (2014-2020).
The Ministers also noted the report on the Study on the Economic, Health and Social Impact of Haze in 2015 on the ASEAN Region.
The Ministers welcomed the endorsement of the modality for sharing hotspot information among MSC countries as recommended by the 7th Meeting of the MSC Technical Task Force (MTTF). The Ministers also noted that the information sharing mechanism has been operationalised during the current dry season.
The Ministers noted that the ASEAN Joint Declaration on Hazardous Chemicals and Wastes Management was conveyed at the High Level Segment of the 2017 Meetings of the Conferences of the Parties of Basel, Rotterdam, Stockholm (BRS) Conventions on 4-5 May 2017.
To better facilitate regional cooperation on environment in line with the ASEAN Community Vision 2025, the Ministers adopted the updated Terms of Reference of ASEAN Senior Officials on Environment (ASOEN) and its Working Groups. The Ministers looked forward to the finalisation of the ASEAN Strategic Plan on Environment (ASPEN) 2016-2025 which consists of action plans for ASEAN’s strategic priorities on environment. The ASPEN shall serve as a comprehensive guide for ASEAN cooperation on environment for the period of 2016 to 2025. The Ministers also adopted the ASEAN-China Environmental Cooperation Action Plan 2016-2020 and the ASEAN-UN Action Plan on Environment and Climate Change.
On the occasion of the 50th Golden Anniversary of ASEAN, the Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to environmental protection and sustainable development. As part of their contribution to the anniversary celebration, the Ministers launched the 5th ASEAN State of Environment Report and congratulated ten outstanding individuals from all ASEAN Member States who have been recognised and awarded as ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes on 7 August 2017 in Manila, Philippines, for their significant contribution to biodiversity conservation and advocacy efforts in their respective countries in the ASEAN region. The Ministers also supported other planned activities in light of the anniversary celebration, among others the publication of ASEAN Biodiversity Outlook 2, ASEAN Conference on Marine Debris and EAS Mangrove Planting Day.
Following the endorsement of Bai Tu Long National Park as the 38th ASEAN Heritage Park in 2016, the Ministers endorsed the nomination of (1) Kepulauan Seribu National Park and (2) Wakatobi National Park as the 39th and 40th ASEAN Heritage Parks respectively. These add to ASEAN’s collective efforts in raising awareness, protection and conservation of the regional network of national protected areas for the benefit of current and future generations.
The Ministers presented, for the fourth time, the ASEAN Environmentally Sustainable Cities (ESC) Awards and, for the third time, the ASEAN Certificates of Recognition for Clean Air, Clean Water, and Clean Land, to selected cities in ASEAN Member States. The Awards and Certificates are added incentive to promote environmentally sustainable practices, education and partnerships towards environmental sustainability in ASEAN cities.
4th ESC ASEAN Award
City Nominations ESC Award 2017
Bandar Seri Begawan
Nay Pyi Taw
North West District
3rd Certificates of Recognition
Malang City (Indonesia)
Can Tho (Viet Nam)
Malacca Historical City (Malaysia)
Ampang Jaya (Malaysia)
The Ministers congratulated the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity for the new ACB Headquarters building in Los Banos, Philippines, which was inaugurated on 29 July 2017. The Ministers expressed appreciation to the Government of the Philippines for its continued support and commitment to ASEAN’s cooperation on biodiversity conservation and the Centre.
The Ministers noted the development of the USD 8-million ASEAN-UNDP Project on Reducing Pollution and Preserving Environmental Flows in the East Asian Seas through the Implementation of Integrated River Basin Management (IRBM) in ASEAN.
The Ministers looked forward to a successful outcome of the 23rd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 23) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which will take place on 6-17 November 2017 in Bonn, Germany including convening of an ASEAN event under the Indonesia pavilion at the sideline of the COP23. In this regard, the Ministers endorsed the ASEAN Joint Statement on Climate Change to COP 23 to UNFCCC for the consideration by the Leaders.
The Ministers met their counterparts from the People’s Republic of China, Japan and Republic of Korea at the 15th ASEAN Plus Three Environment Ministers Meeting on 13 September 2017 to review current activities and discuss future strategic cooperation in such areas of biodiversity, climate change, environmental education, environmental science and technology, and environmentally sustainable cities, amongst others.
The Ministers agreed to meet again in Myanmar in 2018 on the occasion of the 14th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution, and in Cambodia in 2019 on the occasion of the 15th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on the Environment, and 15th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution.