Environmental News Archive

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PM Lee suggests ASEAN Declaration on Environmental Sustainability at next Summit

By Wong Siew Ying and S Ramesh, Channel NewsAsia
13 January 2007

CEBU: Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has suggested that ASEAN work towards a Declaration on Environmental Sustainability at the next Summit.

Speaking during the Leader's Retreat at the Summit meeting in Cebu in the Philippines, Mr Lee stressed that ASEAN also needs to be effective in dealing with trans-border challenges .

One area of shared concern is the environment as it affected the physical well-being of people and economies.

Specifically, Mr Lee said ASEAN must work hard to tackle the problem of the haze as its likely to be worse next year with the El Nino effect.

Singapore, he said, appreciates Indonesia's efforts to resolve the problem at its root.

The Republic is working with Indonesia to develop sustainable land-clearing practices in the Jambi province.

Another critical issue for ASEAN to address is energy as there is a need to enhance energy efficiency and conservation.

The Prime Minister suggested that ASEAN work towards the long-term goal of an open regional energy market, which includes key infrastructures like the ASEAN Power Grid and Trans-ASEAN Gas Pipeline.

He added that it is also a good idea to develop alternative fuels such as biofuels, biomass, and even nuclear power but stressed that countries must pay close attention to security, environment, health and safety aspects.

Mr Lee said it was important to have a robust regional nuclear safety regime in place before nuclear plants come into operation and this was something that Asean's officials should look into.

Turning to the Singapore Chairmanship of ASEAN in August, Mr Lee said Singapore's planning a whole year of activities to commemorate the regional grouping's 40th Anniversary.

The Prime Minister stressed that the region is on the ascent and now is the time for ASEAN to take decisive action so as to secure the regional grouping's place in the world, for a brighter future for its people. - CNA /dt