Earlier this year, on 24th August 2021. RDI held a webinar titled "Transboundary Haze Pollution in Southeast Asia: Effect and Forest Fire Management in Indonesia" with Lancaster University and was supported by University of Malaya, Institut Pertanian Bogor and World Resource Institute. The agenda of this webinar was to provide a forum for discussion that gears around policy, implementation, best practice and experiences related to fires disaster risk management and community-led efforts. As well as to proliferate the information surrounding the key challenges for forest fires preparedness, mitigation and response in Indonesia and other related countries.
The speaker was Dr. Emmanuel Tsekleves from Lancaster University, with the presentation titled "Addressing Transboundary Haze Pollution in South East Asia via Community Engagement in Indonesia". He concluded that there are numerous essential elements in the forest fire management; first one would be an understanding on the intersectional key drivers of the conflict; second, community engagement in term of building the public awareness, resilience, and preparedness of forest management; and, lastly the need of change of method in eliminating the issue by prioritizing pre-emptive measure through co-design and community engagement rather than the post-actions.
The next presentation was by Prof. Dr. Ir. Bambang Hero Saharjo M. Agr - Bogor Agricultural University, titled "Peat Fires versus Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emission Reduction" discussing how The severity of peat fire is extraordinary, it is difficult to fight, it produces huge amount of GHG emission, and it disrupts the ecological environment, Multi level collaboration with all stakeholders and clear target is one way to reduce the GHG emission, and GHG calculation should not be heavily relied on the IPCC emission factors as most of the datas are overestimated, it is best to conduct the GHG calculation based on the on field scientific data.
The third speaker was from Dr. Helena binti Muhammad Varkkey from Universiti Malaya, with the presentation titled "Haze in Southern South East Asia: Regional effects, cooperation, and engagement". Discussing how the impacts of transboundary haze pollution do not reserved to environmental effects only, but also socio-economic and political effects in the regions, and that there are numerous initiatives taken to solve the issue, however, the ASEAN transboundary pollution act in 2003 is a staple example of the regional government seriousness in dealing with haze issue.
There was also a discussion and a Q & A session by Dr. Arief Wijaya and Dr. Ir. Lailan Safina, M.Sc. Both peat management and haze transboundary pollution are tightly related. Sustainable management on peat and land, multi stakeholder and multi sector collaboration, community engagement, focusing on technological aspects of monitoring, prioritization of socio-economic (agricultural) aspects in delivering new solutions should be taken into account in the effort of forest fire management.