GFMC is hosting the First German Forum on Disaster Reduction, Freiburg, Germany, 29-30 September 2000

GFMC is hosting the First German Forum on Disaster Reduction

(no global fire update will be provided between 27 September and 1 October 2000)

A brief Introduction to the First German Forum on Disaster Reduction:


“Extreme Natural Events and Vulnerability”
Freiburg (Germany), 29-30 September 2000
At the Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC)


The International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction – IDNDR of the United Nations (1990-99) has resulted in the building of a coalition between the science community and the users of information in investigating the causes for and the predictability of extreme natural events (natural disasters). Nationally and internationally improvements have been achieved in the prevention and mitigation of natural disasters. However, it is being observed that differences in the vulnerability and the availability of basic knowledge and disaster management technologies exist between industrial and developing countries. The last years have shown that extreme natural events (earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, wildfires, avalanches) have resulted in unprecedented damages at global level. It is likely that expected global demographic and climate changes will result in increased vulnerability of global populations.

At the end of the IDNDR new initiatives were established at national and UN levels. In Germany the Foreign Office sponsors the work of the German Committee for Disaster Reduction (Deutsche Komitee für Katastrophenvorsorge – DKKV) which provides a platform for those sectors of society involved in disaster reduction, i.e. the science community, operating agencies and programmes, media, and the private sectors, including the insurance and re-insurance sector. The work of the DKKV is also contributing to the IDNDR successor arrangement, the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR). After the international IDNDR Early Warning Conference in Potsdam (1998) which was sponsored by the German Foreign Office, the DKKV, in close cooperation with the Foreign Office, has launched a series of Annual Conferences (Fora) on Disaster Reduction. The first forum after the end of the IDNDR and the begin of the work of the ISDR in 2000 will be held in Freiburg (Germany), 29-30 September 2000.

Date and Organizers

The forum date 29-30 September 2000 will be held close to the International Day for Disaster Reduction of the United Nations which in this year will be celebrated on 11 October 2000. The theme of the International Day is Disaster Prevention: Education and Youth and addresses the topic Wildfires. The Forum represents an official contribution to the International Day and the objectives of the ISDR. The GFMC supports the 2000 public relation campaign of the ISDR by designing the ISDR poster “Wildfires” which will be printed in three languages (English, and distributed worldwide

Freiburg as the host city of the Forum is also the location of the Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC) which represents a combination of a scientific research institute and an user-oriented system for global early warning and monitoring of vegetation fires, and decision-support for managers and policy makers. The establishment of the GFMC is financed by the German Foreign Office as a contribution to the ISDR. The GFMC is hosted by the Fire Ecology Research Group of the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, c/o Freiburg University. The GFMC contributed to the ISDR 2000 public relations campaign on Wildfires.


On 29 September 2000 a demonstration project will be presented by the GFMC. Jointly with a Russian smokejumper, the Freiburg Forestry Student Wildland Fire Crew, a fixed-wing airplane and a Russian helicopter MI-17 with a Russian crew, the GFMC will present ist visions how to train international wildland fire brigades to be deployed at international level for assisting countries in extreme fire situations. Such a concept could be realized jointly with the UN International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG) and resource countries such as the Russian Federation, the U.S.A. and Germany. The demonstration project is supported by the Helion Procopter group which provides fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters for global use in fire and other disaster response.

The GFMC will provide some update information of the demonstration project on Saturday 30 September.

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