1. Environment Ministers from Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and representatives from Thailand and the ASEAN Secretariat met at the Ninth Meeting of the Sub-Regional Ministerial Steering Committee (MSC) on Transboundary Haze Pollution on 30 April 2010 in Balikpapan, East Kalimantan, Indonesia.
2. The Ministers noted the report of the ASEAN Specialised Meteorological Centre (ASMC) that during the current Inter-Monsoon season from May to June 2010, brief dry spells can be expected leading to occasional surges of hotspot activities in the region. Increased hotspot activities can be expected in the fire-prone areas in the region during the traditional dry season from June to September 2010. This may lead to transboundary smoke haze pollution from July 2010 if no concrete preventive and mitigating measures are taken.
3. Despite the weakening of the El Nino phenomena, the region experienced an increase in hotspots from March to April 2010 as compared to the same period last year. The Ministers therefore agreed to step up vigilance and put more efforts to prevent and mitigate land and forest fires.
4. The Ministers expressed appreciation to Indonesia for their enhanced and new efforts in implementing its Plan of Action (PoA) in Dealing with Transboundary Haze Pollution, which include among others:
(i) Direct local governments to stay alert for any escalation of hotspots;
(ii) Formulate a new action plan to realize its commitment of 26% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, and 20% hotspot reduction every year starting 2010, using the 2006 levels as the baseline;
(iii) Socialize the new action plan to the fire-prone provinces and direct the provinces to formulate their provincial level action plans;
(iv) Establishment of the Rapid Response Brigades for disaster emergency response, including forest and land fires;
(v) Undertake continuous campaign to educate the public on the prevention and mitigation of fires; and
(vi) Provision of new fire suppression equipment of Manggala Agni Brigades, especially in fire-prone provinces of North Sumatra, Riau, Jambi, Central Kalimantan and West Kalimantan.
5. The Ministers noted further progress in the collaboration between Indonesia and Singapore for the Muaro Jambi Regency. Seven action programmes have been successfully completed under the Jambi Master Plan. An additional project on Freshwater Aquaculture Training has also been completed while the Jambi Peatland Management Project is currently ongoing.
6. The Ministers also noted the successful completion of the action programmes under the collaboration between Indonesia and Malaysia in Riau Province, including installation of an air quality monitoring station in Bagan Siapi-api, Rokan Hilir Regency, and fire and haze prevention programmes through rehabilitation and improved management of peatlands in 5 selected villages in Rokan Hilir Regency.
7. The Ministers agreed to explore, following on the momentum of the successful bilateral collaboration between Indonesia and Singapore in Jambi Province and between Indonesia and Malaysia in Riau Province, for MSC Joint Collaboration Project in fire-prone areas.
8. The Senior Officials will meet again in July 2010 in Sarawak, Malaysia to review the fire and haze situation, on-going activities and take appropriate action.
9. The Ministers expressed their appreciation to the Government of Indonesia for hosting the 9th MSC Meeting and the excellent arrangements made and hospitality provided.