Australian Embassy

Press Release 2024 - Australia hosts Mekong dialogue on cooperation for clean air

                 Australia hosts Mekong dialogue on cooperation for clean air

31 May 2024

Australia convened a regional dialogue on transboundary haze with Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam to identify practical ways to reduce PM2.5 haze and improve air quality across the Mekong subregion.

Chief of Party, USAID - WWF Mekong For the Future (MFF) Mr Veerawit Tianchainan said, “Transboundary haze continues to be a significant health hazard and a burden on public services. It has impacted and disrupted quality of life in the Mekong subregion. To address this environmental challenge more effectively, close cooperation among countries, civil societies, and a renewed focus on technology-driven and innovative solutions are vital.”

Senior advisers to the Australian Government, Dr Paul Grimes and Dr Kate Wilson, led the three-day regional dialogue on ‘Cooperation for Clean Air’ in Chiang Mai on 29-31 May 2024.

"Supporting Mekong countries to address climate-related development challenges such as PM2.5 is a priority for Australia’s deepening engagement in the Mekong subregion," said Chargé d’Affaires a.i. of Australia Ms Julia Feeney.

“Australia is pleased to be hosting this Regional Dialogue under the Mekong-Australia Partnership to enhance collaboration on this critical issue and support a proactive, urgent pathway forward," added Ms Feeney.

The dialogue focused on mapping progress to date on reducing haze pollution and sharing insights and practices on air quality monitoring at both regional and local levels. A visit to Chiang Mai University’s Academic Centre for Air Pollution showcased how innovative approaches and research are effective tools to tackle the issue of PM2.5. The dialogue identified practical strategies, solutions and opportunities to reduce haze and improve air quality.

The workshop was supported through the Mekong-Australia Partnership (MAP) which aims to address shared challenges across the subregion with a focus on improving water security, responding to climate change and combatting transnational crime. During the 2024 ASEAN-Australia Special Summit, Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong announced an additional A$222.5 million in funding for the program.

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