Pan-Asia Forest Fire Consultation for the UNISDR Regional Wildland Fire Networks of Northeast Asia, Central Asia, Southeast Asia (ASEAN), and South Asia
1-6 February 2009, Busan, South Korea
Within the four regions of Asia that are belonging to the UNISDR Global Wildland Fire Network forest fires and other vegetation fires are increasingly impacting the environment and societies. The Northeast Asian Region, which includes the Korean Peninsula, the Far East of the Russian Federation, Japan and China, is experiencing increasing occurrence of forest fires with negative consequences on sustainability of ecosystems, biodiversity and forest productivity. The Central Asian Region, which includes Mongolia, Northern China, the Russian Federation (Siberia), and the Central Asian States (Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan), is affected by continental dryness, widespread illegal logging and increasing wildfires, which are threatening sustainable forest management and regularly resulting in regional smoke pollution. The Southeast Asian region, covering the members states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), is faced by impacts of excessive fire application in land-use change, notably in rain forest and peat biomes, as well as wildfires in seasonally dry forests. The South Asian region, which is including countries of mainland South Asia not members of ASEAN, is faced with increasing pressure of forest fires, particularly in mountainous terrain, with severe consequences of secondary disasters such as landslides, erosion and floods. Many countries within the four regions of Asia are partners in economic and cultural activities. Some of them are sharing common forest fire problems, including transboundary fires and smoke pollution.
Objectives of the Consultation
The economic and cultural relationships, common problems in sustainable forest management and transboundary impacts of forest fires and other vegetation fires makes regional cooperation in fire management imperative. In addition all countries of the region are expecting consequences of regional climate change that will or may affect forests and fire regimes. This is why the Korea Forest Research Institute (KFRI), coordinator of the UNISDR Regional Northeast Asia Wildland Fire Network, is inviting representatives of the neighbouring regional networks to meet and exchange expertise in fire management. The focus of this Consultation is on two aspects. First, invited representatives will exchange experience in the use of incident management (command) systems in wildfire (fire disaster) management. This will allow countries to benefit from the expertise of their neighbours and define possible solutions for joint use of incident command systems in wildfire disaster management that would involve two or more nations working together by providing or receiving assistance. Second, the representatives of the regions would present the state-of-the art knowledge on the expected impacts of climate change on forests and other vegetation cover and fire regimes. This will allow countries to assess the future problems to incur. By including this topic to the Consultation the regional networks will meet theRecommendations of the 4th International Wildland Fire Conference. Based on commonalities and differences between regions and countries the coordinators or representatives of the regional networks, supported by the UNISDR Wildland Fire Advisory Group and the Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC), will develop a plan for a Pan-Asian Wildland Fire Conference to be hosted by South Korea tentatively in 2013.