Setting up Regional South Asia Wildland Fire Network (RSAWFN)
An increasing frequency anddestructive force of unwanted wildfires worldwide — including the excessive useof fire in the conversion of forests into other land uses in the tropicalcountries is affecting human lives, health and well-being, economic assets,property, biodiversity, water resources, soil, atmosphere and climate.
Fire management strategies whichinclude preparedness and early warning cannot be generalized due to themultidirectional and -dimensional effects of fire in the different vegetationtypes and the large variety of cultural, social, and economic factorsinfluencing them. However, unlike the majority of the geological andhydro-meteorological hazards, wildfires represent a natural but predominantlyhuman-influenced hazard, which can be predicted, controlled and, in many cases,prevented.
The current state ofwildland fire science and atmospheric sciences research of the last two decadespotentially provide sufficient knowledge for fire management decision supportand development of policies affecting the occurrence and consequences ofhuman-caused fires. However, in many countries or localities, the requisiteknowledge is either lacking or is not readily accessible for developing adequatemeasures in fire policies and management.
In response to the strategicgoals of the UN Convention on Combat of Desertification (CCD), Convention onBiological Diversity (CBD), and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC),the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF), the MillenniumDeclaration of the UN General Assembly, and the objectives of the work of theGlobal Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC) and the World Conservation Union (IUCN),the UN-ISDR Inter-Agency Task Force for Disaster Reduction in 2001 established aWorking Group on Wildland Fire (WG-4). This Working Group was coordinated by theGFMC.
One of the priority fieldsaddressed by the Working Group on Wildland Fire was the establishment of, andoperational procedures for, a global network of regional- to national-levelfocal points and network structures for early warning of wildland fire, firemonitoring and impact assessment, aimed at enhancing existing global firemonitoring capabilities and facilitation of a global fire management workingprogramme or network.
The UNISDR Global WildlandFire Network is created in 2002 and is recognized as an activity of UNISDR since2004. GFMC is serving as secretariat of the Global Wildland Fire Network and theWildland Fire Advisory Group of the UN International Strategy for DisasterReduction (UNISDR).
At the 2nd meeting ofUN-ISDR Working Group on Wildland Fire (WG-4) (3-4 December 2001) it was decidedto give priority to the establishment of the “Global Network of RegionalWildland Fire Networks”.
The strategy agreed by the International WildlandFire Summit (Sydney, 3-6 and 8 October 2003) (Strategy for Future Developmentof International Cooperation in Wildland Fire Management) includes thefollowing agreement:
The Regional Wildland Fire Networks will beconsolidated, developed and promoted through active networking in informationsharing, capacity building, preparation of bilateral and multilateral agreements,etc. This process will be facilitated through regional Wildland Fire Conferencesand Summits in cooperation with the International Liaison Committee and theUN-ISDR Working Group on Wildland Fire.
At the first meeting ofUN-ISDR Wildland Fire Advisory Group / Global Wildland Fire Network (3-4December 2004) it was recommended to endorse the ISDR Global Wildland FireNetwork and official recognition of Regional Wildland Fire Networks under theauspices of the United Nations ISDR, FAO, and GFMC, among others; toInstrumentalize the networks as effective platforms for dialogue andcommunication to achieve a level of mutual cooperation and synergy withinregions, between regions, as well as between the Rio conventions UNCCD, UNCBD,and UNFCCC; and to support the Regional Wildland Fire Networks.
This South Asia (SA)Wildland Fire Network Foundation is in line with several declarations made ininternational conferences/ summit interalia the Declaration of the Tenth SAARC Summit Colombo 1998 on Environmentand the decision made in the meetings of UN-ISDR Working Group on Wildland Fire(WG-4), UN-ISDR Wildland Fire Advisory Group / Global Wildland Fire Networkduring the last five years and is intended to bring together both the technicalmembers of the fire community and the authorities concerned with policy andnational practices in wildland fire management to realize their common interestsof fire risk management and disaster reduction at global scale.
Following discussions withrepresentatives from Nepal and India in 2006 and earlier offers by theDepartment of Forests, Nepal is recognized as the convener of the network by theUN-ISDR Wildland Fire Advisory Group / Global Wildland Fire Network/ GFMC.
The network is belonging to one of four networks within the Pan-Asia Wildland Fire Network, which was founded in the Republic of Korea in February 2009: