Seminar: Tackling the Haze Issue in Southeast Asia: Domestic and Regional Approaches



The forest fires in parts of Sumatra and Kalimantan have created thick smoke which have engulfed not only parts of Indonesia, but also Singapore and parts of Malaysia. The fires, which have been going on for the last two months, threaten to be the worst regional haze in recent memory, surpassing levels seen during the haze that affected the region in 1997. The haze has impacted normal life in all three countries, which have seen school closures and sharp rises in reports of haze-related illnesses. Not only is there growing tension directed at Indonesia’s perceived lack of effective response, but ASEAN’s abilities to strengthen regional cooperation and resolve transboundary differences have also come under question. The signing of the ASEAN Agreement on Transboudary Haze Pollution (AATHP) in 2002, and Indonesia’s eventual ratification of that agreement in 2014, have yet to produce tangible results in tackling the perennial haze. This seminar will discuss the cause and effect of the haze, and analyse the national and regional approaches to better manage and contain the haze issue.


Mr Chua Chin Wei is currently with Advanced Metal Tradings (AMT) as a trader for metals and minerals. From 2011 to February 2015, Mr Chua served as Deputy Director and Fellow (Environment and Resources) at the Singapore Institute for International Affairs (SIIA). At SIIA, he established networks with a broad range of sectors including palm oil, wood pulp and NGOs. He has also assessed the various responses and measures to tackle the haze issue, as part of the SIIA’s Informal Haze Dialogue. Prior to his SIIA stint, Mr Chua was Divisional Director leading the Metals team at IE Singapore. He had also worked closely with MTI and MOF along with agencies such as EDB, MAS IRAS, STB, Contact Singapore and industry secretariats to engage the industry in a holistic manner. In the early part of his career, Mr Chua was a Trade Policy Officer with the Singapore Ministry of Trade and Industry specializing in China.

Dr Jonatan A Lassa
is Research Fellow with the Centre for Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Studies, S Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore, where he researches on food and environmental security issues. Prior to joining the Centre for NTS Studies, Dr Lassa was a Senior Research Fellow with the Institute of Resource Governance and Social Change (IRGSC). He was previously a Researcher with the United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security in Bonn and an Indonesia postdoctoral fellow at Ash Center, Harvard Kennedy School. In his professional career, he has also worked with the UN, international NGOs and the private sector. Dr Lassa holds a PhD from the Faculty of Agriculture at the University of Bonn, Germany.

Dr Helena Varkkey is currently a Senior Lecturer at the Department of International and Strategic Studies, University of Malaya. Dr Varkkey has been interested in sustainable development throughout her academic career. Her interest in the field has evolved to focus on transboundary pollution in Southeast Asia, particularly pertaining to the role of patronage in agribusiness, especially the oil palm industry, and its link to forest fires and haze in the region. Dr Varkkey shares her academic musings on this topic, with a blog titled “The Forests for the Palms”. Dr Varkkey holds a PhD from the Department of Government and International at the University of Sydney, Australia.


For registration, please fill in this form and email to by 9 Nov 2015.


Nov 11 2015


3:00 pm - 4:30 pm


ISEAS Seminar Room 2