07 October 2015
The current Southeast Asian haze problem is not a function of the lack of commitment on the part of President Jokowi’s government. The ineffectiveness of forest fire prevention and response lies deeper in the complex disaster governance landscape in Indonesia.
The Indonesian government has shown renewed resolve to tackle the haze problem, as indicated by its ratification of the ASEAN Transboundary Haze Agreement in 2014. President Joko Widodo has also clearly indicated that he needs at least three years to effectively solve the haze issue. The President has demonstrated his commitment in typical style – by going down to the ground to see for himself the extent of the haze problem.
This, however, literally means that people most affected by the haze in Sumatra and Kalimantan in Indonesia as well as Singapore and Malaysia will have to live with the risk of haze for another three years. Yet some experts have argued that three years is not enough. Despite his good intention to eliminate the drivers of forest fire in years to come, there is a much deeper problem which lies in the way fire prevention is managed. The complexity is often not adequately understood as the devil is always in the details.
… Jonatan A. Lassa is Research Fellow at the Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS), S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. This is part of a new RSIS series on the regional haze issue.
NTS Centre / Online
Last updated on 13/11/2015