Whenever we attended an ASEAN meeting, we were always asked about when we would ratify it.
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Indonesian government has eventually ratified the ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution (AATHP) 12 years after it signed the agreement.

"After 12 years of waiting, we eventually ratify the agreement," deputy to the environment minister for environmental damage and climate change control Arief Yuwono said here on Tuesday.

The House of Representatives (DPR) held a plenary meeting with the government to discuss AATHP on Tuesday. The meeting was attended by House leaders and members, the environment minister, the foreign minister and the planning director of the law and human rights ministry.

Wood and/or forest fires may lead to air pollution which is detrimental to human health, pollutes the environment, destroys ecosystem, and disturbs transportation.

The massive wood and/or forest fires that affected Indonesia in 1997 led to transboundary haze pollution in several ASEAN member states.

That is part of the agenda of the second ASEAN informal summit held in Kuala Lumpur in 1997.

In 2002 all ASEAN member states agreed to sign the AATHP in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Indonesia was the only country that had not ratified AATHP before the plenary meeting was held.

"Whenever we attended an ASEAN meeting, we were always asked about when we would ratify it," he said.

Arief said the ministry proposed the ratification of the agreement in 2009. But the proposal was put on hold due to succession of old government to new government. The ministry proposed it again in 2012.

He said after ratifying the agreement, Indonesia will receive several benefits; first, playing an important role in making decisions and taking active part in directing ASEAN policies on combating land and/or forest fires.

Second, protecting the Indonesian community from the impact of land and/or forest fires detrimental to human health; third protecting land and forests from land and/or forest fires; and fourth, contributing to the control of land and/or forest fires which lead to transboundary haze pollution.


Reporter: Desi Purnamawati
Editor: Ella Syafputri
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