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17 Jul 2013

World Resources Institute

STATEMENT: Company Concession Data Cannot Be Kept Secret [Southeast Asia]

Ministers of Environment from five ASEAN countries - Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand – held the...Meeting of the Sub-Regional Ministerial Steering Committee on Transboundary Haze Pollution…to discuss measures to combat forest fires and haze in Southeast Asia…The Ministers recommended establishing a “Sub-Regional Haze Monitoring System” for sharing detailed land-use and concession maps that will help to pinpoint companies and others responsible for illegal burning. This proposal, however, has a key shortcoming: the maps will be shared only between governments and therefore kept secret from the public. Dr. Nigel Sizer, Director of the Forests Initiative at the World Resources Institute said, “…lack of commitment to public disclosure is a serious obstacle to progress…It is also strongly in the interest of companies to make concession maps public. Companies have reputational and operational risks with non-disclosure…”