Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Indonesia Finally Ratifies ASEAN Haze Agreement

More than a year after I wrote this post, Indonesia's parliament has finally ratified the 2002 ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution.   My earlier post explains why this is a positive development, but not a panacea for the haze problems in Southeast Asia: 

Given the difficulty of obtaining ratification and the lack of strong authority and enforcement powers in the Haze Agreement, why should ASEAN members care strongly about its ratification?  Because at this point, more than 10 years after its signing, ratification by Indonesia would send a strong political message to the rest of ASEAN that it takes the issue seriously.  After ratification, continued haze problems will become that much more embarrassing for the Indonesian government.  In other words, at this point the act of ratifying the Haze Agreement has more meaning than the Haze Agreement itself.   

Indonesia's ratification this week is particularly timely as Singapore faces the unfortunate return of the haze during its marquee sporting event, the F1 Singapore Grand Prix, being held this weekend.  Even if  this year's race  is affected by the haze, hopefully Indonesia will take more actions so that next year's race isn't.