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Closer regional and international cooperation needed on haze, Vivian tells UN

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While countries are tackling the haze problem individually, closer regional and international cooperation is needed to apply legal and commercial pressure on errant companies, said Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan.

WHILE countries are tackling the haze problem individually, closer regional and international cooperation is needed to apply legal and commercial pressure on errant companies, said Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan.

This is to prevent them from profiting from unsustainable land and forest clearing, Dr Balakrishnan said in a speech on Sunday at the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Summit 2015 at the UN Headquarters in New York City.

"Transboundary haze from forest and peatland fires in South-east Asia impairs the health of millions of people in the region, it compromises the safety of aircraft, and it damages our regional economy," he pointed out. "The large quantities of carbon dioxide released sets back our global efforts to mitigate climate change."

At the summit, Dr Balakrishnan announced the launch of Singapore's Sustainable Development Programme, a special technical assistance package to support the UN's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

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Under the programme, Singapore will partner UN agencies, such as the UN Development Programme (UNDP), to provide technical assistance and capacity building to developing countries in the areas of leadership and governance, sustainable cities, and water and sanitation solutions.

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