Ministers responsible for the environment from ASEAN Member States held their 11th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on the Environment and the 5th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution on 29 October 2009 in Singapore. The Ministers reviewed regional cooperation on a number of environmental issues in particular the activities related on environmental sustainability of the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community (ASCC) Blueprint.
The Ministers welcomed the entry into force of the ASEAN Charter and resolved to contribute effectively towards achieving the purposes of the ASEAN Charter to achieve an ASEAN Community by 2015. Responding to the 2007 ASEAN Summit Declaration on Environmental Sustainability and the 2009 ASEAN Summit Joint Statement on Climate Change to the 15th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the 5th Meeting of Parties to the Kyoto Protocol adopted at the 15th ASEAN Summit, the Ministers adopted the Singapore Resolution on Environmental Sustainability and Climate Change.
The Ministers endorsed the Terms of Reference of the ASEAN Climate Change Initiative and established an ASEAN Working Group on Climate Change to promote closer and deeper regional cooperation on climate change and to respond effectively to global efforts in addressing climate change issues.
The Ministers launched the Fourth ASEAN State of the Environment Report 2009 which outlines the status and trends of environmental quality in the region, the challenges faced and measures taken to address them. The Report serves as a useful reference for all parties to engage with ASEAN in addressing regional and global environmental issues.
The Ministers approved the Mount Kitanglad Range Natural Park in the Philippines as the 28th ASEAN Heritage Park, which aims to establish a regional network of national protected areas conserving critical representative ecosystems in the ASEAN region.
The Ministers adopted the ASEAN Mechanism to Enhance Surveillance Against Illegal Desludging and Disposal of Tanker Sludge at Sea, to ensure coordinated efforts among ASEAN Member States to control tanker desludging activities and to promote proper disposal of the tanker sludge at approved disposal facilities.
The Ministers agreed to confer the 2nd ASEAN Environmentally Sustainable City Award in 2011 to recognise and promote environmentally sustainable practices in ASEAN cities / urban areas while meeting the social and economic needs of the people.
The Ministers noted that Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore were affected by transboundary haze for brief periods in August and September 2009 due to escalation in hotspot activities in the fire-prone areas in Sumatra, Kalimantan and Sarawak. The Ministers discussed the efforts taken on addressing land and forest fires and transboundary haze pollution issue in light of the moderate intensity El Niño event by end 2009. The ASEAN Member States agreed to remain vigilant and step up mitigation measures to control the escalation of hotspot activities in the Mekong sub-region during the dry periods in the first quarter of 2010.
The Ministers discussed the implementation of the ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution and approved the work programme for regional activities under the Agreement.
The Ministers expressed appreciation to the Singapore government for hosting the MSC Forum on Prevention and Mitigation of Land and Forest Fires on 28 October 2009 which brought together representatives from governments, provincial/ local authorities, international organisations, non-governmental organisations and the private sector to share experience and promote collaboration in addressing land and forest fires. The Ministers agreed to hold the MSC Forum annually and the venue will be rotated among the Member States.
The Ministers will meet with their counterparts from China, Japan and Republic of Korea at the 8th ASEAN Plus Three Environment Ministers Meeting on 30 October 2009 in Singapore to discuss regional and global environmental issues.
The Ministers will meet again in 2010 at the 12th Informal ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on the Environment in Brunei Darussalam.