In the framework of the European programme Amazonía +, the FIIAPP has participated in the Meeting of the Latin American and Caribbean Forest Fire Experts Group, to exchange experiences on public policies against forest fires
The 5th Meeting of the Group of Experts on Forest Fires in Latin America and the Caribbean (GEFF LAC) took place in the cities of Cali and Riosucio (Colombia). In addition to experts from national fire management agencies, the meeting was attended by representatives of the Joint Research Center (JRC), the EU Delegation in Colombia and international organisations such as FAO, UNEP and the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organisation (ACTO).
The European Union, through the JRC, and the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, collaborate in the project to support forest fire management in the region, an initiative that aims to improve national capacities to prevent forest fires from a regional perspective, relying on EU best practices: the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS) and the European Group on Forest Fires (EGFF).
Opening the session, Alberto Menghini, Head of the EU Cooperation in Colombia, underlined that fires are one of the worst losses globally, both in environmental and economic terms. “It is important to highlight that many countries present here share the most important environmental asset in the world: the Amazon. It is important to highlight the momentum of cooperation between Amazonian countries, as evidenced at the Amazonian Summit of Presidents in Belém do Pará last August”.
The programme Amazonía +, financed by the European Union and implemented by a consortium between AICS, the FIIAPP and Expertise France, has participated in the working sessions and has had the opportunity to learn about the experiences related to the management of forest fires by the participating countries. In addition, exemplary experiences from the host country have been highlighted, such as those of the Cali Fire Department and the Indigenous Volunteer Firefighters of Riosucio (Caldas), the first indigenous fire brigade in Colombia, which has served as an example for the establishment of 17 other groups of indigenous volunteer firefighters in the country.
The objective of the meeting, in addition to continuing with the exchange of experiences, was the creation of working groups on priority areas. It is worth highlighting the working group on public policies, led by Ecuador through the Secretariat for Risk Management, established as a result of the debates between the countries on the need for a legislative and regulatory transition towards Integrated Fire Management (IFM), which implies the recognition of the role of fire in ecosystems and the valuation of the cultural role of fire, together with the negative impacts that forest fires can have on society. The roundtable is consolidating a work plan focused on identifying regulatory gaps and adaptation needs in public policies, with the aim of facilitating the adoption of the IFM approach in the region.
The Amazon+ programme reaffirms its commitment to support these regional processes that are aligned with the programme’s objective of strengthening the capacity of the Amazon Basin countries to prevent forest fires and improve opportunities for indigenous peoples and local communities to participate in the development and implementation of environmental and forest governance policies and mechanisms.