The ASEAN Environment Ministers in October 2004 agreed to establish a panel of ASEAN experts to provide rapid independent assessment and recommendation for the mobilisation of resources during impending critical periods. Following this decision, the ASEAN Senior Officials on the Environment (ASOEN) in August 2005 set up the Panel of ASEAN Experts on Fire and Haze Assessment and Coordination.
The ASEAN Environment Ministers adopted the Terms of Reference of the Panel of Experts in September 2005.
The Panel of Experts have developed the operational procedures for the activation of the experts, deployment procedures, execution (or the conduct of the rapid assessment itself), demobilisation, and reporting procedures. The Panel of Experts convenes at least once every year to do hands-on activities, such as refresher courses on conducting rapid assessment, field trips and table-top/simulation exercises on the procedures for the Panel of Experts.
The Panel of Experts currently consists of 29 nominated experts from ASEAN Member States with various technical expertise and background. The Panel has been deployed three times during the dry season in 2006. The first deployment was to Riau Province in August 2006, the second deployment was to West Kalimantan Province in September 2006, and the third deployment was to South Sumatra in October 2006.
A workshop was convened in April 2007 in Palembang, South Sumatra, Indonesia to review the experiences from the three deployment missions in 2006 and refine the deployment and operational procedures for the Panel of ASEAN Experts.