Strengthening Governance in Landscape Fire Management

European Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, Side Event
Matosinhos, Portugal, Special Session, 26 November 2021

Fires burning in natural and cultural landscapes are increasingly threatening ecosystem services that are essential for securing lives, livelihood, health, and security of humans and their environment. With accelerating impacts of climate change and widespread land degradation, the vulnerability of natural ecosystems, land-use systems and humanity to fire is increasing. This trend goes along with secondary effects of fire, such as land degradation, erosion, floods; threats arising from fires burning on lands polluted by waste, chemicals, radioactivity and remnants of conflicts such as unexploded ordnance. Wildfires, predominantly started by land-use fires, are often burning across natural, cultural and urban-industrial landscapes and across borders between jurisdictions and nations. Emissions from landscape fires have transboundary and global impacts and constitute a major factor influencing the atmosphere, climate and human health.

In 2021, Europe has experienced unprecedented severe and disastrous wildfire episodes. While there have been advances in fire management in some countries, there are still barriers preventing the sharing of scientific and technical knowledge and good practice between agencies in different States. These barriers have resulted in some agencies being unintentionally not aware about the technical information and advancements that they could utilize for enhancing governance to develop greater national resilience and preparedness for wildfire, or to use fire safely and effectively as a benign tool in managing land-use systems.

The Side Event will present and discuss the achievements and prospects in cross-sectoral fire management. The event refers to the outcomes of the 7th International Wildland Fire Conference (Brazil, 2019), which concluded “that the paradigm of addressing the problem through individual and disconnected services and actions in fire prevention or suppression should be reframed. Unified and integral planning must ensure and strengthen societal, environmental and economic resilience to landscape fires by addressing:

  • Risk governance and ownership-Dialogue of knowledge, including traditional and indigenous knowledge
  • Gender, diversity and inclusion
  • Socio-economic innovation in rural landscapes, favouring nature-based solutions
  • Strengthening local action


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