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International relations for reducing wildfire impacts – some history and some thoughts

Author(s): Pieter van Lierop, Peter F. Moore
Year Published: 2019

In this paper, we describe the international activities that FAO has undertaken with partners over the years and then reflect on the role of international relations in reducing wildfire impacts on ecosystem services. FAO has long had a focus on wildfire management and been one of the international organizations facilitating the development of a comprehensive approach of Integrated Fire Management through applying the 5Rs; Review and Analysis, Risk Reduction, Readiness, Response to fires and Recovery. As a neutral global institution, FAO hosts secretariats for global and regional networks on fire management as well as a relevant FAO-statuary bodies. Every year, wildfires burn millions of hectares of forest woodlands and other vegetation, causing the loss of many human and animal lives and an immense economic damage, both in terms of resources destroyed and the costs of suppression. There are also impacts on society and the environment. In many instances, wildfires will have a bearing on the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and in some instances may threaten their success. Integrated Fire Management that is data based, information rich, scientifically sound and locally anchored in communities will contribute to successful SDGs and Paris Agreement implementation. Many bilateral agreements exist between countries to cooperate in the case of fire suppression, and many regional networks have been initiated to strengthen capacities in fire management, and mostly all promote integrated fire management, but they have not all been effective and sustained. One might conclude that the success of international efforts in integrated fire management, or any exchange on fires, has been limited. International relationships can undoubtedly contribute to reducing wildfire impacts. The strongest mode of this is likely to be through interaction and exchange, joint problem solving and sharing experience in fire management and research rather than pooling firefighting resources. In this respect the existing networks and working groups should be encouraged and supported.

Citation: van Lierop, Pieter; Moore, Peter F. 2019. International relations for reducing wildfire impacts – some history and some thoughts. In: González-Cabán, Armando; Sánchez, José J., tech. eds. Proceedings of the fifth international symposium on fire economics, planning, and policy: ecosystem services and wildfires. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-261 (English). Albany, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station: 1-15.
Topic(s): Fire & Economics, Management Approaches
Ecosystem(s): None
Document Type: Conference Proceedings
NRFSN number: 19085
Record updated: Mar 19, 2019