Editorial (IFFN No. 22 – April 2000)

2000 – A Year of new Global Fire Partnerships and Initiatives

(will be published in IFFN No. 23 – December 2000, p. 1)

Careful readers may have noticed that two new logos of partner organizations have appeared on page ii of IFFN, the new logo of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR) and the logo of the German Agency for Technical Cooperation (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit – GTZ).

The ISDR logo resembles the former logo of the UN International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR). In fact, the ISDR is the successor arrangement of the IDNDR and became effective in January 2000. In this issue we present the new logo of a UN programme that is becoming involved increasingly in addressing global problems associated with forest fires and other wildland fires. On 11 October 2000 the first UN inter-agency platform for wildland fires has been created under the ISDR. This decision was made at the second meeting of the ISDR Inter-Agency Task Force for Disaster Reduction (IATF). The IATF is a constituent element of the ISDR and serves, among other, as the main forum within the UN system for devising strategies and policies for the reduction of natural hazards in accordance with the framework laid down in resolutions of Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and of the UN General Assembly. The Working Group Wildland Fire is one of four working Groups of the IATF. The Working Group Wildland Fire has been proposed jointly by the World Conservation Union (IUCN) and the Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC). Starting in 2001 the GFMC will coordinate new Working Group. We will report in IFFN No. 25.

As expressed in the UN General Assembly Resolution A/RES/54/219, the ISDR Secretariat will continue all promotional and awareness-raising activities carried in strengthening the achievements already made during IDNDR towards achieving a concrete global culture of prevention. The UN 2000 World Disaster Reduction Campaign has been conducted from August to October 2000 around the theme of “Disaster Prevention, Education and Youth” and culminated on 11 October 2000 with the worldwide celebrations of the International Day for Disaster Reduction. Specific emphasis had been placed on forest fires as an illustration of a significant and recurrent threat whose economic and social impact has always been underestimated. The announcement of the UN 2000 World Disaster Reduction Campaign had been circulated worldwide to organizations and individuals dealing with disaster prevention, as well as to young people and schools, in order to encourage national participation in the campaign. A press release announcing the campaign had bee issued through the UN Department of Public Information in Geneva. An information kit in English, French, Spanish and Russian was produced in cooperation with the Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC), the Emergency Management Australia, the French Entente Interdépartementale en vue de la Protection de la Forêt contre l’Incendie, the French Conservatoire de la Forêt Méditerranéenne, the South African Government’s Ukuvuka Operation Firestop and the Cuerpo de Bomberos del Instituto Nacional de Seguros de Costa Rica. It included scientific articles, a poster and case studies on forest fires and disaster prevention as well as a children’s booklet. The IFFN readers are kindly referred to the educational materials presented by the ISDR Secretariat. They are available on the ISDR Website (http://www.unisdr.org).

In this issue we present a GTZ Special. It reveals the high-profile involvement of an agency that has been dealing with wildland fire problems in the frame of bilateral technical, scientific and financial cooperation since many years. A number of reports have been published in the pages of IFFN since the early 1990s. This GTZ Special provides the views of GTZ project staff working all over the globe.

In my last Editorial (IFFN No.22 – April 2000) I reported about an initiative under the UN International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG) to establish a wildland fire component that would deal with international assistance to countries that need support in extreme fire emergencies. At the ECE/FAO Baltic Exercise for Fire Information and Resources Exchange 2000 (BALTEX FIRE 2000) in Finland, June 2000, and the 5th INSARAG Regional Europe-Africa meeting in Hammamet, Tunisia, November 2000, further steps were prepared towards implementation. In the next issue of IFFN (April 2001) we will report about BALTEX FIRE 2000 in the frame of a Forest Fire Special on the Baltic Region including the Russian Federation.


Freiburg, December 2000


Johann G. Goldammer

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