Regional Environmental Governance: An Evaluation of the ASEAN Legal Framework for Addressing Transboundary Haze Pollution
17 Pages Posted: 24 Jun 2014
Date Written: June 23, 2014
Transboundary haze pollution is a major problem that affects the environment and human health of the ASEAN region. In addressing shared environmental problems ASEAN places more reliance on prevention and cooperation than establishing a liability regime or adopting legal instruments to protect the environment. This is a reflection of the so-called ‘ASEAN Way’, which emphasises non-interference in other states’ domestic affairs, the use of consensus planning and cooperative programs, and a preference for national implementation rather than reliance on a strong region-wide agency or bureaucracy. In addition, the ASEAN preference is for ‘soft’ rather than ‘hard’ law. This article examines the strengths and weaknesses of the current ASEAN regional legal framework for addressing transboundary haze pollution, with particular emphasis on the ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution and other haze-related soft law and policy. The authors suggest that the current ASEAN legal framework, particularly the ASEAN Agreement, will not be effective in addressing haze pollution unless there are improvements to the Agreement’s provisions. The article also suggests that too much reliance is placed on soft law and that more binding legal instruments should be adopted.
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