Namibia Round Table on Fire, Windhoek, 10-11 November 1999

Namibia Round Table on Fire
Windhoek, 10-11 November 1999

(IFFN No. 25, July 2001)

3.2 Breakout Group 2: Stakeholder Co-ordination

The Development of an intersectoral fire management programme for Namibia requires a high degree of co-ordination efforts between the different sectors of the society represented by government agencies (see Breakout Group 1), non-government institutions and interest groups, and stakeholders to be involved.

The group discussed the state of fire knowledge, technology transfer, institutional capacities in fire management in Namibia.

3.2.1. Current Status Of Fire Management In Namibia Information

  • Etosha burning guidelines and regulations for nature conservation are based on long-term ecological research and fulfil the requirements of advanced ecosystem and fire management
  • No guidelines are available for commercial farming areas
  • Guidelines are available for communal areas in the Forest Act but are currently not applied because the Act does not conform with present socio-cultural conditions
  • Guidelines in the new Forest Act include all sectors

Lack of burning policy. Such a policy is needed for the prescription of fire or fire regimes in accordance with the need for burning in various land-use systems and wildlands, e.g. burning moribund grasses, control of bush encroachment, stimulation of forest regeneration, etc.

Elements to be considered in burning:

  1. reasons for burning
  2. appropriate fire regimes
    • type of fire
    • intensity of fire
    • season of burning
    • frequency of burning
    • manpower & equipment
  1. management after burning
  2. assessment of traditional burning practices
  3. impacts on biodiversity
  4. fire information systems

Stakeholders to be involved in policy development:

  1. Ministry of Agriculture, Water & Rural Development

  • Research division
  • Extension division
  • Veterinary services
  1. Ministry of Environment and Tourism

  • DoF, DEA, DRM

  1. Ministry of Regional, Local Government and Housing

  • Regional governor’s offices
  • Established procedures exist for fire safety but prescriptions lacking
  • Availability of free satellite information access (NOAA/AVHRR) from Harare, Zimbabwe
  • Problems; lack of techniques to assess and monitor fire effects
  • Legislation governing the use of fire
  • Lack of quantitative data on fire effects
  • Accessibility of unpublished data on fire management and effects  Communication

  • Lack of communication channels of relevant information to all stakeholders (electronic system).
  • High level endorsement at ministerial level is required to build up a communication network  National responsibilities

National responsibilities need to be defined to guide, co-ordinate and implement a broad range of tasks within a nationally harmonized fire management strategy. The

  1. Coordination
    • who is responsible for overall national co-ordination
  2. Who is responsible
    • for policy
    • for training
    • for liaison
    • for sensitization
    • for extension
    • for fire management burning policy
    • for extinguishing fire

The key stakeholder to be involved in sharing responsibilities are:

  • Commercial farmers (commercial farming areas)
  • Community leaders/tribal-traditional authorities(communal lands)
  • Private landowners (municipalities)
  • Service providers (national parks)
  • Fire brigades (urban areas)
  • Tourism sector
  • Relevant research institutions
  • Educational institutions
  • Relevant NGOs  Research and Training

Research and training must address the most urgent and immediate needs of the country. It has been recognized that the wealth of fundamental knowledge in fire science as well as existing technologies and procedures in fire management must be transferred to the user level. The focus should be on:

  • Problem-oriented research
  • Research on developing techniques for assessing and monitoring fire effects by field based remote sensing
  • Intergrative sectoral research
  • Training i.a.w. the needs to be defined
  •  Capacity building of existing staff
  • Practical training courses in fire management
  • Exchange of extensionists in SADC
  • Co-ordination of syllabi on fire management at national training institutions
  • Public awareness campaign
  • Exploring funding possibilities within GRN & donors  International co-operation

The transboundary fire issues affecting Namibia and its neighbours require a strong co-operation with the neighbouring countries, the SADC community and international partners. Main emphasis should be given on:

  • Transboundary meeting to involve all stakeholders
  • Reactivation of the SADC protocol on fire management, 1996
  • SADC and bilateral agreements
  • Magnitude of crossboundary fires
  • Magnitude of crossboundary air pollution
  • Procedures for containing cross-border fires
  • SAFARI 2000 research
  • Connect Namibia with international fire information network via the Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC)
  • Organization of workshops with international inputs
  •  Identification of best fire management practices within the region  Finance

  • For financing institution and capacity building and implementation of a national fire management policy commitments are required by the government of Namibia and the international community.  Priority must be given to
  • work towards economic independence at all levels to create sustainable funding

International funding sources need to be explored through:

  • Donors, e.g. IUCN, WWF, GEF, GFMC, FAO, EU
  • NGOs
  •  Business enterprises (PPP – Public-Private Partnerships)
  •  Exploit opportunities such as E.I.F.
  • Seek partners for carbon trade  Evaluation and Feedback

An efficient monitoring and evaluating capacity must be built in Namibi. It is recommended that the National Fire Forum should:

  • Monitor and review/evaluate fire management Programmes
  • Establish systems/channels for monitoring and evaluation of fire management activities including bush encroachment, climate change, employment generation through the control of e.g. transboundary fires.

4. Conclusions and Recommendations

The national Namibian Round Table on Fire was an important kick-off event to initiate a national fire management strategy and programme in which all sectors of the society concerned will actively participate.

From the very beginning the Round Table was not designed to elaborate the details of a national fire programme. The report, which includes the recommendations arising from the breakout groups and the Round Table plenary, represent the opinions and visions of the most important government and non-government institutions and stakeholders.

It is now most urgent to follow up the recommendations by priority. Highest ranking priority is the establishment of a national fire forum which will provide the continuation of the spirit of a Round Table in which all stakeholders will jointly share responsibility.


In this list only the quoted literature sources are provided. For more background information: see the reports by Goldammer (1998) and Trollope and Trollope (1999).

Goldammer, J. G. 1998. Development of a National Fire Policy and Guidelines on Fire Management in Namibia. Namibia-Finland Forestry Programme, Directorate of Forestry, Ministry of Environment and Tourism, Windhoek. Revised Draft (18 October 1998).

Kromhout, C. 1999. Proposed Cooperative Fire Management in the SADC Countries of Southern Africa. Int. Forest Fire News No. 21, 22-24.

International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO). 1997. ITTO Guidelines on Fire Management in Tropical Forests. ITTO Policy Development Series No.6. ITTO, Yokohama, 40 p.

Swap, R. 1999. The Southern African Regional Science Initiative ‑ SAFARI 2000. Int. Forest Fire News No. 21, 28-34.

Trollope W. S. W., and L. A. Trollope. 1999. Technical review of the Integrated Forest Fire Management component of the Namibia-Finland Forestry Programme in the East Caprivi Region of Namibia. Windhoek – Fort Hare, August 1999.

This report has been prepared in the frame of the Namibia-Finland Forestry Programme, Directorate of Forestry, Ministry of Environment and Tourism, Windhoek, Namibia (December 1999) by

Johann G. Goldammer

Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC)
Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Biogeochemistry Department
c/oFreiburg University, PO Box
79100 Freiburg


The ostrich in Namibia’s fire prevention logo represents a species that is endangered by excessive wildfires


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