'Clearing the haze': A historical perspective on ASEAN's response to the Southeast Asian haze crisis
Azalea Binti Roseli, .
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Transboundary air pollution is one of the most pressing environmental challenges faced by ASEAN today. Otherwise known as the haze, efforts towards its mitigation have allegedly been hampered by what is known as the ‘ASEAN Way’ of non-interventionist, informal diplomacy. In response to this criticism of the ‘ASEAN Way’, this thesis asks how does the ‘ASEAN Way’ impact ASEAN’s ability to create an effective regional response to the haze crisis. This thesis argues this characterisation of the ‘ASEAN Way’ as an obstacle against an effective ASEAN response to the haze crisis is misplaced. By examining the organisation’s founding documents, it explains how the historical geopolitical conditions of Southeast Asia during the formation of ASEAN culminated in a style of diplomacy which is epitomised in the ‘ASEAN Way’. An analysis of ASEAN documents addressing the haze crisis is used to demonstrate how the ASEAN Way is specifically catered to priorities and objectives of ASEAN states to maximise the likelihood of regional cooperation in order to mitigate the haze. Thus, this thesis concludes that the ASEAN Way of diplomacy is an essential component of Southeast Asian regionalism which must be integrated in any effective response to the haze crisis.