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ERIA Co-Organises Workshop on Developing the Guidelines for the Reduction of Crop Burning in ASEAN

14 May 2024

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Bali, 14 May 2024: With its significant environmental and health impacts, the reduction of crop burning has emerged as a critical global concern. Dr Kentaro Yamada, Policy Fellow of ERIA, highlighted the extensive impacts of crop burning and the need to develop effective measures in his opening remarks for a workshop on Developing the Guidelines for the Reduction of Crop Burning in ASEAN, organised by ERIA and the ASEAN secretariat from 13 to 14 May 2024.

‘Crop burning reduction is an urgent issue all over the world. It touches upon crucial matters, such as greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution, haze, and human health impacts. It is also an issue which expands across the regional border. That is why we should discuss with the delegates from each ASEAN Member State, organisation, and university, to develop the regional guidelines,’ said Dr Yamada. He added that while solutions must be customised to suit specific regions, farming methods, and crops, sharing insights and identifying commonalities can help uncover effective strategies.

Crop burning, a technique employed to clear crop residues from farmland, such as straw stubble or leftover materials, by setting them on fire after harvesting, has been widely practised in certain ASEAN countries. The 29th Meeting of the ASEAN Sectoral Working Group on Crops (ASWGC) in 2022 addressed the issue of crop burning among ASEAN Member States (AMS). Subsequently, in support of the ASEAN Strategy on Carbon Neutrality, the 45th ASEAN Ministers of Agriculture and Forestry (AMAF) Meeting agreed to develop the ASEAN Guidelines for Reduction of Crop Burning in ASEAN as a Priority Economic Deliverable (PED) of Lao PDR’s ASEAN Chairmanship in 2024.

Inaugurating the workshop, Dr Pham Quang Minh, the Head of ASEAN Secretariat’s Food, Agriculture, and Forestry Division, stated that crop burning is related to sustainable agriculture as well as carbon neutrality. He expressed his hope for productive discussions among participants to draft an outline of the Guidelines.

The workshop aimed to gather feedback and suggestions for the development of the Guidelines and AMAF Statements while facilitating the sharing of good practices among AMS. Approximately 50 participants attended, including representatives from ASWGC, the ASEAN Secretariat, SOM-AMAF representatives from each AMS, and ASEAN development partners such as GIZ, JIRCAS, and others.

The workshop centred on discussions among participants aimed at developing the Guidelines for the Reduction of Crop Burning in ASEAN. The first day primarily revolved around the presentation of the key findings from the preceding workshop by the ERIA consultant, along with insights shared by resource persons on crop burning reduction strategies. Participants engaged in detailed discussions within small groups, exploring specific aspects of the Guidelines, and exchanging insights. On the subsequent day, participants offered input on the drafted outline of the Guidelines and the Statement, while also deliberating potential cooperation programmes for farmers. Among the comments, Dr Yamada introduced another project for conducting a case study on crop burning reduction.

Concluding the workshop, Dr Thavisith Bounyasouk, Director of Planning and Cooperation Division, Department of Agriculture, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry Lao PDR, expressed gratitude to the participants and called for further cooperation among AMSs to develop the Guideline as well as the Action Plan of Sustainable Agriculture, which is also listed among the PED of the ASEAN Lao Chairmanship 2024.

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