After Indonesia’s Ratification: The ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution and Its Effectiveness As a Regional Environmental Governance Tool

Daniel Heilmann

Abstract


On 20 January 2015 Indonesia deposited its instrument of ratification for the ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution with the ASEAN Secretariat, becoming the last ASEAN member state to join the treaty. Haze pollution poses a serious health threat to the people of Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia, and for decades haze pollution has been a highly contentious issue among ASEAN member states. This article argues that Indonesia’s ratification will not be an immediate game changer. The mechanisms of the agreement are too weak to contribute much to a reduction of haze pollution in the region. The agreement is designed according to the ASEAN way: a non-binding approach that is based on the principles of state sovereignty and non-intervention. This makes it unlikely that the agreement itself will bring about change, even now that all ASEAN member states have ratified it.

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