and adjoining Regions of the Near East and Central Asia
Antalya, Turkey, 30 March – 3 April 2004
The Eastern Mediterranean Region, including the Balkan countries, the ECEmember states of the Near East and Central Asia, and other neighbouringcountries of Central Asia, e.g. Mongolia and China, have recently suffered majorforest and other wildland fire problems.
The causes of an increasing occurrence ofwildfires in forests and other wildlands, including the underlying reasons forincreasing human-caused fires, vary within the region and are due to:
· transition from centrally planned to market economies
· national to regional conflicts, creation of new nations
· increasing population growth and land-use pressure
· regional climate change towards increase of extremedroughts
It has been recognized that no regional activityis underway to establish cooperation in wildland fire management, includingwildland fire science.
Several reasons support the idea for holding aregional conference. First, the Balkan countries, some of them being in apost-war situation and under reconstruction, as well as the South EasternEuropean countries which are still in economic and political transition, havenot participated in recent activities of the ECE/FAO Fire Team and otherinternational wildland fire research and development projects. Second, theneighbouring countries of Turkey, such as the Caucasus states, Iran,Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan, have been quite isolated from recentscientific and technological developments in fire management. Third, the fireproblems in Mongolia and northern China, and to a limited extent in Afghanistan,call for cooperation with the ECE region.
From the point of view of the ECE/FAO/ILO TeamSpecialists on Forest Fire and the Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC), whichcoordinates the work of the team in the ECE region and liaises with the GlobalWildland Fire Network, the countries listed above deserve full attention andsupport to bring them into the family of the international community of forestfire scientists, managers and policy makers.
With reference to the objectives of the GlobalWildland Fire Network (facilitated by the GFMC) and the recommendations of theInternational Wildland Fire Summit (Sydney, Australia, 8 October 2003) theAntalya conference will also serve as a follow-up of the Summit and provide anopportunity for a joint regional meeting for the Regional Wildland Fire Networksof the Mediterranean, Balkans and Central Asia. Other Regional networks, notablythe arrangements under the FAO (FAO Silva Mediterranea, FAO NorthAmerican and Latin American Forestry Commissions), are also invited.