Assessment of the "Strengths" of the New ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution

In International Review for Environmental Strategies (IRES) Volume 4 Number 1 (2003)
Peer-reviewed Article

This article assesses the theoretical “strengths” of the new ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution (ATHP), which was initially created to prevent, monitor, and mitigate land and forest fires, and eventually, transboundary haze pollution in the Southeast Asian region. Using Pamela Chasek’s “Strength Index,” the author graded the contents of the ATHP using the various weighting systems for each of the following 12 indexes: secretariat/commission; reporting; reservation; monitoring; non-compliance; inspection; dispute settlement; amendments, protocols, and annexes; performance standards; liability provisions; financial resources and mechanisms; and adoption of protocol within five years. The ATHP obtained no score in those indexes that could have given its Secretariat the power to monitor or inspect the compliance of the Parties and to mete out punishment to stubborn ones. For this reason, it can be branded as a “blind and toothless paper tiger,” although one would have expected the involvement of the United Nations Environment Programme in its drafting to produce better results. Compared to a similar regional environmental accord?its European counterpart, the 1979 Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution?the ATHP appears (in theory) to be stronger, but there are lessons to be learned from Europe’s more than 20 years of experience with that convention. In the company of 13 other multilateral environmental accords, the ATHP is among the stragglers. The author suggests various compliance and enforcement strategies or techniques to strengthen the ATHP and implementation-related laws and regulations at the regional, national, and sub-national levels.

Full text is available on EBSCOhost database:

Ebinezer R. Florano