Evolving Issues of International Law and Policy
NUS Centre for International Law series
Edited by S. Jayakumar, Tommy Koh, Robert Beckman and Hao Duy Phan
Chapter 13: Legal redress of transboundary air pollution through environmental cooperation
The complex drivers of transboundary haze pollution in Southeast Asia suggest that several different remedies and legal regimes will need to be employed. The use of biological treaties to preserve peatland forests and curb expansion of the burning for new palm oil or pulp plantations offer several avenues for cooperation, including the UNESCO World Heritage and ASEAN Heritage programmes, the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, the UN programme on ‘Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, Plus Conservation’ (REDD+), and mechanisms under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, the Convention on Biological Diversity, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Commission on Protected Areas and the IUCN World Parks Congress. Other remedies include approaches through the World Health Organization on urban air pollution and through revisiting trade agreements that drive the production of palm oil. An important remedy, which remains to be developed, is the transboundary environmental impact assessment (EIA) with reference to a regional agreement comparable to the Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context. Given the lack of intergovernmental support for the direct remedies proposed in the 2002 ASEAN Haze Agreement, the use of these indirect remedies will be an important way to begin to abate the haze pollution, and to build cooperation and confidence in attaining a regional solution to the transboundary air pollution.
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