ASEAN Environment Ministers met at the 9th Informal ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on the Environment on 27 September 2005, Makati City, the Philippines to review and enhance cooperation on regional environmental issues, in particular nature conservation and biodiversity, water resources management and transboundary haze pollution.

The Ministers recognised the immense value of biological resources of the region and reaffirmed their commitment to conserve and to use these resources in a sustainable manner. The Ministers and other dignitaries witnessed the launch of the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) by H.E. Michael T. Defensor, Secretary, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the Philippines on 27 September 2005. The ACB aims to further strengthen cooperation and coordination on the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of such resources. The Ministers expressed their appreciation to the Philippines for hosting the Centre, and to the European Commission for their financial support to ACB.

The Ministers and other dignitaries also witnessed the launch of the web portal for the ASEAN Network on Environmentally Sustainable Cities (ESC) (http://www.asean.org/aiesc.htm) by H.E. Assoc. Prof. Koo Tsai Kee, Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, Singapore on 27 September 2005. The web portal promotes sharing of best practices, and capacity building among ASEAN participating cities. The Ministers noted that a workshop will be held in December 2005 in Jakarta to develop key indicators for Clean Air, Clean Land and Clean Water as well as to develop criteria for ASEAN ESC awards.

The Ministers adopted the ASEAN Strategic Plan of Action on Water Resources Management, and noted the publication of the Report on the State of Water Resources Management in ASEAN. The Strategic Plan addresses key issues faced by the region namely water supply and demand management; water quality and sanitation; impact of extreme events such as floods and droughts; and governance and capacity building.

The Ministers had an extensive discussion on concrete measures to combat land and forest fires and transboundary haze pollution and issued a Joint Communique on Transboundary Haze Pollution as attached herewith.

The Ministers met with their counterparts from the Plus Three countries (People’s Republic of China, Japan and Republic of Korea) at the Fourth ASEAN Plus Three Environment Ministers Meeting held on 28 September 2005. ASEAN and the Plus Three Environment Ministers exchanged views on priority areas of cooperation, and on several project ideas to promote collaboration in specific areas. The Plus Three Ministers expressed their interest to collaborate with ASEAN on some of the project ideas, and the ASEAN Plus Three Senior Officials were tasked to follow-up on these proposals.