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The ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution: exploring mediation as a way forward

Sarah Tan Yen Ling

Keywords: ASEAN; transboundary air pollution; haze; mediation; environment

Transboundary air pollution is a complex, multi-faceted and multi-jurisdictional issue that affects many nation states. In Southeast Asia, this environmental hazard (also known as haze) is a recurring affair that has a tremendous effect on a handful of nation states; in particular, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei. The Association for Southeast Asian Nations (‘ASEAN’) has made various attempts at regulating this menace, one of which is the ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Air Pollution, 2002 (ATHP). While it has achieved a measure of success, one of its key weaknesses is the failure to provide for a successful means of dispute resolution. This article considers several issues in the light of this, including the relationship between Article 27(1) of the ATHP and Article 23(1) of the ASEAN Charter; whether a way forward can be found for the use of mediation as the alternative means of dispute settlement; and the principle of non-interference in the ASEAN way vis-à-vis the use of mediation.

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