wild places | wild happenings | wild news
make a difference for our wild places

home | links | search the site
  all articles latest | past | articles by topics | search wildnews
wild news on wildsingapore
  Channel NewsAsia 9 Mar 07
S'pore, Indonesia collaborate on Master Plan to fight haze problem
By Satish Cheney

Channel NewsAsia 6 Mar 07
S'pore offers help to regency in Jambi to fight haze problem in Indonesia
By Hasnita A Majid

SINGAPORE: Singapore has offered to collaborate with a regency in Jambi province in Indonesia to fight the haze problem.

The Environment and Water Resources Ministry said this follows Indonesia's commitment to reduce the number of hotspots by 50 percent this year and to allocate some S$110 million a year to achieve this.

The haze has been a recurring problem in the region--affecting air quality and the economy of countries for the last 10 years.

Giving an update of a ministerial meeting held last month, Environment and Water Resources Minister Yaacob Ibrahim said under Indonesia's National Plan of Action (National PoA) to fight the haze problem, the country aims to halve the number of hotspots this year. It has also budgeted more than S$100 million or over US$65 million a year to implement its programmes.

He said: "Indonesia identified 35 fire-prone areas in 8 provinces including Jambi, Riau, South Sumatra and Central Kalimantan to deal with fires there. Singapore has offered to work with a regency in the Jambi Province to enhance its capacity to prevent and mitigate land and forest fires."

The area identified is the Muaro Jambi Regency, and the National Environment Agency is working with the leaders there to develop a Master Plan to prevent and mitigate fires.

"The Master Plan for Muaro Jambi Regency will be aligned with the Indonesia's National PoA. More importantly, the Jambi Provincial Government will own the Master Plan. If successfully implemented in Jambi, the Master Plan can serve as a model for other fire-prone districts in Indonesia," said Dr Yaacob.

Under the Master Plan, the Environment and Water Resources Minister said the focus would be on fire prevention and fire suppression.

Singapore would assist the Jambi government to obtain financial and technical resources, including matching agencies to projects. Other elements under the Master Plan include legislation and enforcement, early warning and monitoring, as well as regional and international collaboration.

Dr Yaacob added that Malaysia has indicated it would assist the implementation of the PoA by undertaking a number of projects, including working with plantation companies to implement zero burning practices and other preventive measures.

He said: "Malaysia also liked the Jambi-Singapore Collaboration model and wanted to know more about it. Hence I have invited Malaysian officials to join my officers when we develop the Master Plan jointly with Jambi and Indonesia State Ministry of Environment officials."

Dr Yaacob said Indonesia, Brunei and Malaysia have also pledged over S$76,000 or US$50,000 each to the ASEAN Haze Fund. And he hopes this will spur other ASEAN members, and international organisations, to do the same.

Singapore was the first to pledge that amount at the 1st Ministerial Steering Committee Meeting on Transboundary Haze Pollution last year. The Ministry said Indonesia would also get international and regional assistance from organisations and NGOs to implement its programmes to fight forest fires.

The Asian Development Bank, for example, has announced it would provide technical expertise and funding for some projects under the Jambi Master Plan. - CNA/so

Channel NewsAsia 9 Mar 07
S'pore, Indonesia collaborate on Master Plan to fight haze problem
By Satish Cheney

SINGAPORE : Indonesian officials from the province of Jambi are in Singapore to collaborate on a Master Plan to tackle the haze problem. Together with their counterparts from the National Environment Agency (NEA), they are working out details on how to reduce fires and hotspots in the Muaro Jambi regency.

Jambi Governor Zulkifli Nurdin called on Environment and Water Resources Minister, Yaacob Ibrahim on Friday. In a media conference later, the governor said he was grateful for Singapore's assistance.

He also said that some of the money provided by Jakarta would be used to provide farmers with water pumps and other equipment. They will also receive training on how to clear land. In addition, the Indonesian government is rewarding farmers who do not practise 'slash and burn', by giving them free fertiliser and seeds. Mr Zulkifli added that his team would buy equipment and vehicles to access hard-to-reach areas.

He said, "Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia... (are) very serious to work together hand in hand to overcome the problem. I'm serious about that. I believe that."

The NEA is hoping that the Master Plan will be successful so that other provinces can use it as a model. It is also working together with a private Singapore company to help implement a fire danger warning system.

Joseph Hui Kim Sung, Director-General, National Environment Agency, said, "The Master Plan will have a whole series of programmes under it. Some of these programmes can be very long term. We need to have more (planning) and work out the resources and so forth."

There are also proposals to hold an international conference in Jambi, to discuss the Master Plan when completed.

In the meantime, Indonesian officials have revealed that 24 foreign companies are under investigation for allegedly causing fires. But they admitted that it was usually hard to pass judgement, because it was difficult to gather enough evidence.

Another problem is that there are just too many farmers who use the traditional 'slash and burn' methods. The Indonesians said it was an uphill task to get the farmers to give up their old ways, in a given time frame.

And this was one reason why Jakarta has not signed the Trans Boundary Haze Agreement. But the Indonesian officials added that this agreement would be tabled for discussion in Parliament on Monday. - CNA/ms

Related articles on Singapore: Haze
about the site | email ria
  News articles are reproduced for non-profit educational purposes.

website©ria tan 2003 www.wildsingapore.com