Despite reports last month that the Indonesian government was reviewing all matters regarding bilateral cooperation in environment and forestry with Singapore, the country has shown its commitment by offering an assistance package in a bid to tackle haze in Indonesia.
Since 2005, the Singaporean government has provided haze assistance to help Indonesia’s fire mitigation endeavours, and on June 7 its Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) announced that they had decided to continue their support:
“This is part of the Singapore Government’s broader commitment to assist the Indonesian Government in its efforts to deal with the land and forest fires in the run-up to the traditional dry season from June to October,” said MEWR in a news release as reported by Channel News Asia.
The announcement came as a surprise, as it had been revealed last month that the Indonesian government, led by its Minister of the Environment and Forestry Siti Nurbaya, was reviewing all plans for bilateral cooperation with Singapore. The review itself also included issues concerning the environment, and Minister Nurbaya herself had asked the Singaporean government to step back from direct bilateral cooperation, especially one that focuses on haze and forest fires.
Further, the minister was also open to possibilities of ending the cooperation following the review:
“We are looking at these bilateral collaborations in terms of substance. If it comes down to breaking off any existing bilateral collaborations, this would be the logical consequence of a substance-based review process.”
The assistance package offered by Singapore includes aircraft, high-resolution satellite pictures of fires and coordinates of fire locations, and fire-fighting assessment and assistance.