Preparation of the Inter-Agency Task Force Working Group Wildland Fire within the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR) of the United Nations
Summary of International Activities and Tasks Directed towards the Establishment of the Working Group, as accomplished by the Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC) and the ECE/FAO/ILO Team of Specialists on Forest Fire between 1998 and 2000
Johann Georg Goldammer
Head, Global Fire Monitoring Center
ECE/FAO Team of Specialists on Forest Fire
Fire Ecology Research Group, Max Planck Institute for Chemistry
c/o Freiburg University, P.O. Box, D-79085 Freiburg, GERMANY
On 11 October 2000 the first UN inter-agency platform for wildland fires has been created under the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR). This decision was made at the second meeting of the 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 i.a.w. 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). The GFMC will coordinate the activities of the new working group.
This report highlights the activities of the GFMC and the ECE/FAO/ILO Team of Specialists on Forest Fire (TSFF) which have preceded this initiative during the last decade and in particular during the period 1998-2000.
The report contains a list of major events. In order to keep this document reasonably short some of these events are not explained in detail because they are self-explaining steps (milestones) on the way towards the formation of a global consortium of UN agencies and non-UN groups working on regional to global projects and programmes to address vegetation fires.
2. Introduction: Precursor activities during the 1990s
In response to the problems arising from forest fires in the region of the Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) the Joint ECE/FAO/ILO Committee on Forest Technology, Management and Training established the Team of Specialists on Forest Fire in the early 1980s. The team’s main task is to provide a link in communication and cooperation between fire scientists, managers and policy makers. The main activities embrace (1) the production of International Forest Fire News (IFFN); (2) organization of international seminars; and (3) promotion of synergistic collaboration between governments, international institutions, non-government institutions, and individuals, especially in science and technology transfer, and policy development.
Recognizing that there is no similar regional activity elsewhere within the UN system the Team of Specialists on Forest Fire from the very beginning envisaged and implemented global information exchange by producing IFFN with a global scope and distribution (since 1988).
In response to the global escalation of wildfires and the problems related to the application of fire in land-use systems and land-use change, especially during the El Niño episode 1997-98, the Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC) was established as a contribution of the German government to the UN International Decade of Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR). The GFMC is hosted by the Fire Ecology Research Group (Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, c/o Freiburg University, Germany. The GFMC head is also in charge of coordination (leader) of the ECE/FAO/ILO Team of Specialists on Forest Fire (since 1993). Consequently the work of the Team merged with the activity of the GFMC.
Since 1998 the GFMC has extended its activities with the overall objective to create regional to global synergies in developing policies, programmes and projects to address fire in the different sectors of the UN system and the civil society. In the following an overview is given on the major projects which were initiated, coordinated or supported by the GFMC.
3. Establishment of operations of the Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC)
Following the recommendations of the UN-ECE/FAO/ILO Seminar Forest, Fire and Global Change (Russia 1996) (Goldammer 1996) and the ITTO Guidelines on Fire Management in Tropical Forests (ITTO 1997) and considering the events of 1997-98 in SE Asia and other parts of the world the team strongly underscored the need to establish an institution which at that time was preliminarily designated as a Global Fire Monitoring Facility. It was envisaged that this facility would process and publicly provide all fire and fire-related information which would assist governments, international organizations, the science community, and the management levels concerned to understand fire and to respond appropriately.
On the base of these recommendations the Government of Germany through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance, in June 1998 provided initial funding for the establishment of the Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC). In the foundation stage it was envisaged that the GFMC may facilitate the formation of a mechanism that would support the UN in assisting countries in wildland fire emergency situations, particularly through collaboration with the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-UNEP/OCHA). The GFMC was inaugurated at the FAO Meeting on Public Policies Affecting Forest Fires (Rome, October 1998).
The GFMC fire documentation, information and monitoring system is accessible through the Internet (GFMC 2000a). The daily to periodically updated national to global products of the GFMC are generated by numerous institutions worldwide. The information and data are systematically collected, interpreted and finally displayed on the internet. The products include:
Early warning of fire danger
Near-real time monitoring of fire events
Interpretation and synthesis of fire information
Archive of global fire information
Links to national and international institutions involved in fire research, development and policy development
Emergency hotline and liaison capabilities (restricted) for providing assistance for rapid assessment of wildland fire emergencies through UN-OCHA
The GFMC is acting as affiliated partner of the
World Conservation Union (IUCN)
International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR)
United Nations Educational and Scientific Organization (UNESCO)
World Bank, Disaster Management Facility (DMF) and the ProVention Consortium on Natural and Technological Disasters
International Disaster Risk Management Institute (DRM)
German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ)
Furthermore the GFMC serves as coordinating or facilitating unit of the
Biomass Burning Experiment (BIBEX) of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP), International Global Atmospheric Chemistry (IGAC) Project, and
The Forest Fire Research Groups of the International Union of Forestry Research Organizations (IUFRO) and the International Boreal Forest Research Association (IBFRA).
4. Partnership with IDNDR-ISDR
From the beginning of the UN International Decade of Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR) and particularly at and after the World Conference on Natural Disaster Reduction (Yokohama, Japan, 1994) and the closing event of the IDNDR, the Geneva Forum (1999), the GFMC formulated programmatic visions to cope with disaster fires at national, regional and international scales.
After the formation of the Working Group Fire and Related Environmental Hazards within the IDNDR Early Warning Programme the GFMC contributed to the IDNDR Early Warning Conference 98 (EWC98, Potsdam, Germany). The report of the IDNDR fire group (Goldammer 1997) was published at the occasion of the Potsdam conference. The GFMC was also represented at the IDNDR Scientific and Technical Council (STC) meeting in Washington (1998). At the closing event of the IDNDR, the Programme Forum convened in Geneva, 5-9 July 1999, the Team contributed jointly with the IUCN to the thematic session “Disaster Reduction and Preparedness through Protection of Natural Resources” (Goldammer 1999e).
Following a proposal of the World Conservation Union (IUCN) and the Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC) the ISDR Inter-Agency Task Force for Disaster Reduction (IATF) at its second meeting on 11 October 2000 agreed to establish the Working Group Wildland Fire.
The GFMC will coordinate the activities of the new working group. Details of the working mode and the terms of reference of the Working Group are currently prepared (November 2000 – January 2001). The German Government through the Foreign Office intends to support the Working Group financially.
5. Support of other sectoral UN activities and other international consortia
Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
Several members of the GFMC and the ECE/FAO Fire Team (Finland, Germany, Spain, and Turkey) participated at the FAO Expert Meeting “Public Policies Affecting Forest Fire” (FAO, Rome, October 1998). The GFMC contributed the forest fire analysis of the temperate-boreal zone of Europe-Asia (Goldammer 1999c). The expert meeting was followed by the FAO meeting of the ministers of forestry which released the “Rome Declaration on Forestry” (March 1999).
After the FAO ministerial meeting the GFMC was tasked by the FAO to update/revise the multilingual FAO “Wildland Fire Management Terminology” (FAO 1986); the base document (English) has been finalized in 2000. Jointly with an FAO consultant the GFMC is currently finalizing the FAO Special Report on Forest Fires within the Forest Resources Assessment (FRA 2000). The report attempts to provide a global analysis on the state of forest fires and the measures taken by the governments (draft is due in December 2000). Starting in December 2000 the GFMC has been entrusted by the FAO to establish and maintain the national reports and statistics on forest fires in the FRA 2000 homepage of the FAO.
United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF)
The International Expert Consultation of the 8-Country Initiative “Shaping the Programme of Work for the UN Forum on Forests” was held in November 2000, Bonn, Germany. It has been suggested that relationship should be established between the Collaborative Partnerships and the Interagency Task Force Working Group Wildland Fire. The GFMC was represented at the UNFF meeting.
World Health Organization (WHO)
Recognizing that smoke originating from land-use fires and wildfires is cause of acute and long-term respiratory health problems and requires the development of a comprehensive strategy based on broad international consensus, the GFMC in 1998 began to cooperate with the World Health Organization (WHO). In November 1998 the WHO convened a meeting in Peru aimed to prepare the Health Guidelines for Vegetation Fire Events The GFMC chaired the meeting and co-edited and co-authored the Health Guideline Document and a comprehensive set of background documents on behalf of UNEP, WHO, and WMO (Schwela et al. 1999, Goldammer 1999d, Goh et al. 1999). The guidelines are designed to support decision makers in preparedness and management of health problems arising from wildland fire smoke pollution.
United Nations Educational and Scientific Organization (UNESCO)
The work of the United Nations Educational and Scientific Organization (UNESCO) was supported by participation at the UNESCO International Scientific Conference on Fires in the Mediterranean Forests (Goldammer 1999f). One of the two declarations released by the conference explicitly recommended to cooperate with the GFMC by stating (UNESCO 1999):
The Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC) was established in 1998 and is currently co-sponsored, among others, by UNESCO, the IDNDR and several international fire research programmes, and cooperates with UN-ECE/FAO and FAO Silva Mediterranea. The overall goal of the GFMC is to facilitate information exchange and decision support at an international level by providing near real-time fire monitoring, archive data and other relevant information. Mediterranean countries are urged to actively contribute to continuously improve the information and data flow to the GFMC in order to create a most complete fire information system, to share expertise and to contribute to common international action programmes in fire management and policy development.
In December 1998 the Director General of UNESCO had formally declared the partnership with the GFMC.
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
In 1998 the GFMC contributed the UNEP meeting “Coordination UN Response to Indonesian Fires”. In 1999-2000 the GFMC jointly with the IUCN cooperated with UNEP to prepare a request for funding from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) for a multinational network of Integrated Forest Fire Management (Community-Based Fire Management) projects. It is envisaged to establish partnerships between regions, such as the Baltic Region, the Mediterranean Region, ASEAN, the Southern African Development Community (SADC), or the Organization of American States (OAS). The project proposal is currently on hold.
The joint UNEP-OCHA Environment Unit will be the key link to the emergency management assistance to countries affected by extreme wildland fire situations.
United Nations University Research and Training Center (UNU-RTC)
The GFMC has supported a feasibility study on the establishment of the UNU Research and Training Center on Environment and Human Security. The study recommends the establishment of this facility in Bonn, Germany. Among the environmental hazards to be addressed by the UNU-RTC, the theme vegetation fires has been prioritized. The GFMC is available to further support this UNU concept as the academic and training element in the UN family concerned with fire.
Other International Consortia outside the UN System
The GFMC furthermore supported the establishment and is affiliated member of the ProVention Consortium on Natural and Technological Disasters at the World Bank Disaster Management Facility (DMF); the GFMC participated at the foundation meetings in Paris (June 1999) and Washington (February 2000).
The GFMC is an affiliated institution and covers the wildland fire disaster component of the World Institute for Disaster Risk Management (DRM), a consortium of the Swiss Federal Institutes for Technology, Virginia Polytech, Swiss Reinsurance, and the World Bank.
6. Regional activities in fire management cooperation
Within the ECE region the ECE/FAO/ILO Team of Specialists on Forest Fire and the GFMC regularly organizes regional seminars and conferences on forest fire issues. The last three conferences focused on the northern (temperate-boreal) forests:
Forest, Fire, and Global Change (Russian Federation 1996)
The First Baltic Conference on Forest Fires (Poland 1998)
The Baltic Exercise on Fire Information and Resources Exchange – BALTEX FIRE 2000 (Finland 2000)
The next conference will be focusing on:
Forest Fire in the Eastern Mediterranean, Balkans and adjoining Regions of the Near East and Central Asia (2002)
The BALTEX FIRE 2000 meeting for the first time provided a forum for fire scientists, managers and policy makers in which a multilateral prescribed burning and fire suppression exercise allowed to exchange information, personnel and material. BALTEX FIRE 2000 recommended a follow-up regional fire management programme aimed to contribute to the Baltic 21 Action Programme on Forests. This programme is in line with:
The UN Conference on Environment and Development UNCED (Rio 1992): Forest Principles and the Agenda 21, Chapter 11 on “Combating Deforestation and other”
The Intergovernmental Panel on Forest (IPF, 1995-1997); and
The Ministerial Conferences on the Protection of Forests in Europe (Strasbourg 1990, Helsinki 1993, Lisbon 1998)
The Technical Assistance to the Commonwealth of Independent States (TACIS) Project ENVRUS-9701 “Improvement in Forest Fire Response System, Russia” is an example for technology transfer between EU member states and the Russian Federation. The overall goal of the project is to support the establishment of a fire management information system that will enable conservation aims to be achieved in the implementation of sustainable forest management objectives. The project is technically and scientifically supported by a European consortium of three consulting companies which have included a number of European scientists. The GFMC has a project backstopping function and publishes the TACIS Project Newsletter on the GFMC Website (GFMC 2000c).
NATO and Partners
After initial talks between the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and Russia about new mechanisms in East-West cooperation in science (Novosibirsk 1993) a new initiative has been established within the NATO Science Programme. The NATO-Russia Joint Scientific and Technological Cooperation Committee under the auspices of the Scientific and Environmental Affairs Division of the NATO has organized a targeted program of cooperative research. The cooperative activity was be initiated with three seminars one of which was entitled Forecasting and Prevention of Catastrophes, Safety in Natural and Industrial Aspects. The seminar took place on 30-31 October 2000 in Moscow at the the Russian Academy of Sciences and agreed on a scope statement defining the research area and outlining the range of potential collaborative research activities. The scope statement will be forwarded to the NATO-Russia Advisory Panel to provide the basis for solicitation of research proposals to be funded by NATO and member country government agencies. The concept paper Implications of Global Change on Forest Fires was introduced by the GFMC as an invited partner. Both sides, the representatives of the science community of NATO member states and Russia, agreed that priority must be given to address the problems proposed by the GFMC. The GFMC envisages to call for a NATO Workshop on Advanced Fire Management Strategies in the Boreal Forest to be convened in Russia in the near future (2001 or 2002).
Currently the GFMC prepares a regional Subsaharan Africa fire management initiative which builds on previous activities within the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region. A comprehensive survey of the countries South of the Sahara is underway and will be included in a Handbook for Forest Fire Management in Subsahara Africa in early 2001 (Goldammer and de Ronde 2001). The project is funded by the German Foreign Office, Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance.
The Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) forms a political and geographic entity which seeks intra-regional and international cooperation in solving transboundary fire and fire-generated smoke pollution problems. ASEAN has appreciated inputs by ECE member countries to overcome the past and future environmental and humanitarian crises caused by indiscriminate burning of forests and other vegetation.
The GFMC contributed to the “Asia-Pacific Regional Workshop on Transboundary Pollution” (Singapore, May 1998) which was organized by the Germany-Singapore Environmental Technology Agency (GSETA). The ECE experience in transboundary air pollution was presented by various speakers. The team leader reported about common transboundary issues related to fire and haze in the ECE and the ASEAN region (Anonymous 1998).
As a consequence of the South East Asian fire and smoke-haze pollution episode of 1997-98 the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) also called for a Workshop on Regional Transboundary Smoke and Haze in South-East Asia which followed the GSETA meeting on 2-5 June 1998, Singapore. The workshop was one element of WMO’s efforts to enhance the capacity and capability of National Hydrometeorological and Meteorological Services (NMHSs) in South-East Asia to monitor and model smoke and haze episodes and the long range transport of anthropogenic pollutants, and to improve the NMHS’s abilities to advise, alert, and generally manage these pollution events. It involved a review and discussion of regional plans such as the WMO Program to Address ASEAN Regional Transboundary Smoke (WMO-PARTS). Through the participation of the GFMC the expertise gained from research and development in the fire sector in the SE Asian region was contributed (Goldammer 1999a). At a later stage of the SE Asian fire crisis the GFMC reviewed fire management guidelines at the International Cross-Sectoral Forum on Forest Fire Management in South East Asia, Jakarta, Indonesia, 7-8 December 1998 (Goldammer 1999b).
Furthermore the GFMC assisted the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to design a regional cooperation project “Strengthening ASEAN´s Capacity to Prevent and Mitigate Transboundary Atmospheric Pollution Resulting from Forest Fires (RETA 5778-REG)”.
7. National fire management programs
During the report period the GFMC continued to support a broad range of bi- and multilateral scientific, technical fire management and fire policy development programmes in all continents. Most of the projects are long-term oriented, thus some of them go back to the early 1990s or even the 1980s. With the beginning of the technical cooperation with Indonesia the GFMC developed the concept of Integrated Forest Fire Management (IFFM) which, among other, is based on a Community-Based Fire Management (CBFM) element. The IFFM Indonesia project is sponsored by the German Agency for Technical Cooperation (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit – GTZ) with a lifetime of nine years (1994-2003) and a total funding of ca. DM 20 million.
A special focus has been developed by the GFMC to assist nations in developing long-term fire management strategies. So far the GFMC has initiated National Round Tables on Fire and facilitated long-term programmes in Indonesia (1992), Namibia (1999) and Ethiopia (2000).
8. Science and technology transfer
Fundamental research in fire ecology and atmospheric chemistry
During the 1990s the research conducted under the scientific framework of the Biomass Burning Experiment (BIBEX) of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP), International Global Atmospheric Chemistry (IGAC) Project, and an increasing number of other projects have provided a sound base for understanding the implications of wildland fires on ecosystems, planetary-scale processes (biogeochemistry, atmospheric chemistry, climatology) and humanity. It is felt, however, that only a marginally small amount of fundamental knowledge has found its way to the level of application, especially in the disadvantaged countries of the developing world. A major objective of the work of the GFMC therefore is the science and technology transfer.
Remote sensing of wildland fires
Advanced sensor technologies and operational systems of dedicated fire satellites are required to improve the spatio-temporal coverage and information content for research and disaster management purposes. A prototype improved high temperature event (HTE) sensor, the Bi-spectral IR Detection (BIRD) small satellite mission is currently developed by the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt – DLR) in co-operation with the GFMC. The development of the Innovative Infrared Sensor System FOCUS, to be flown as an early external payload of the International Space Station (ISS) is another joint DLR-GFMC project.
Most significant is the cooperation of the GFMC with the work of the Committee of Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS). The GFMC provides inputs into the Disaster Management Support Group (DMSG) and the Global Observation of the Forest Cover (GOFC) Fire Groups. A major synthesis publication on the state of the art and the future requirements of satellite remote sensing of vegetation fires and fire effects is currently prepared by GOFC and the GFMC (Ahern and Goldammer 2001).
9. International wildland fire emergency assistance
Until recently the mandate of the International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG) of the United Nations has focused to the “classical” SAR cases such as saving lives after earthquakes. However, experience has shown that secondary effects of natural and technogenic disasters require additional specialist advice in conjunction with SAR response and other humanitarian aid missions. The INSARAG family offers an appropriate structure.
At a regional INSARAG Europe-Africa meeting in December 1999 (Germany) a first proposal was elaborated to establish an INSARAG Fire Group consisting of three elements:
Hazardous Materials (Hazmat)
At a meeting at the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA) in January 2000 it was agreed that the original mandate of INSARAG which in addition to search and rescue would also covers wider aspects of disaster/emergency response. This could include a variety of natural and human-made disasters, including wildland fires. INSARAG would assist in strengthening UN-OCHA’s role by:
Governmental experts advisory support in case of a major emergency
Advisory experts to be provided out of the INSARAG family covering many fields of disaster relief
At the 5th INSARAG Regional Europe-Africa Conference (Hammamet, Tunisia, November 2000) the establishment of the Working Group Fire was formally decided. The terms of reference of the group include:
Implementation of fire and HAZMAT topics into the INSARAG Guidelines as required
Establishment of a database of human resources, equipment, information sources, evaluation of missions
Facilitation of continuous exchange of information through the Internet, initially utilizing the OCHA Relief Web and other homepages and networks such as GFMC
Support OCHA/UNEP by providing expertise and knowledge of its members
Between December 1999 and the Hammamet Regional INSARAG Conference the GFMC facilitated the work of the provisional Fire Group, including its participation at BALTEX FIRE 2000. It was agreed with the joint UNEP-OCHA unit to elaborate details for cooperation between UNEP and OCHA in early 2001.
10. Disaster management networks and use of advanced Information and Communication Technology (ICT)
The GFMC is in close contact with numerous providers of data and information which is needed to compile and analyze the wildland fire situation at national to global scales. Various information networks are linked with the GFMC. The GFMC has also been used in providing near-real time situation reports during fire crises, most prominently during its involvement in assessing of and responding to the large fire emergency in Ethiopia, February to April 2000 (Goldammer 2000).
The GFMC is observing the development of upcoming networks such as the Global Disaster Information Network (GDIN international). GDIN international is a concept for reducing the impact of natural and technological disasters through better application of information technology to disaster management.
In November 2000 a Workshop on Natural and Technological Hazards Research in the European Union: Contribution to a Mediterranean Disaster Information Network (MEDIN) was held at the European Commission in Brussels. The purpose of the MEDIN workshop was to discuss the possibility of integrating current and future research results and activities into a disaster information network for the Mediterranean region. This workshop was organized by the European Commission, Research DG, and covered the academia by its different subjects, such as floods, landslides, avalanches, seismic risks, volcanic hazards, technological hazards, and forest fires. In the forest fire session, keynotes were given, e.g. on state of the art in forest fire research, user needs in forest fire fighting, fire behaviour, and forest fire mapping.
A final MEDIN Panel Discussion on the last day of the meeting concluded that EU-MEDIN should be established as an initiative to promote the sharing of disaster related information, data, research results, knowledge and expertise with the GDIN-International partners and shareholders. The final consensus of the EU countries and agreed recommendations of the workshop are not yet available at the time of writing this report.
11. Organizational and scientific setting of the GFMC in Germany
The GFMC is established at the Fire Ecology Research Group, a subdivision of the Max Planck Institute of Chemistry, Biogeochemistry Department. The location of the GFMC is the University of Freiburg where a basic course on fire ecology and fire management is offered at the Faculty of Forest Science (GFMC 2000e). The GFMC supervises and acts as examiner (referee) for doctoral dissertations in a number of universities worldwide.
In Germany the head of the GFMC serves as a member in the Board of Directors of the German Committee on Disaster Reduction (within the ISDR) and its Scientific and Operational Advisory Boards. The GFMC is also member of the German Research Network for Natural Disasters and coordinates the Forest Fire Cluster.
The GFMC through its head is full member of the Scientific Council of the Siberian Centre for Ecological Research of Boreal Forests and the International Laboratory of Forest Fire Ecology (Krasnoyarsk, Russian Federation).
The GFMC and its precursor host facility, the Fire Ecology Research Group, convened a number of international conferences on wildland fire ecology, strategic science planning and policy development. A list of these conferences and the main synthesis publications are given in the Annex.
12. Conclusions and outlook
The El Niño of 1997-98, its resulting circumglobal climate extremes, and the associated fire and smoke episode have revealed the need to address vegetation fires at international or truly global scale. Much of the work of the Fire Ecology Research Group, jointly with the partners of the ECE/FAO Fire Team and the GFMC network, during the recent years has been devoted to create interdisciplinary and international synergies to achieve this goal.
One of the strategies of the GFMC was the systematic cooperation with international agencies, programmes and consortia by establishing links to focal points within these different groups. It seems that in the year 2000, right at the beginning of the work of the ISDR, this community, jointly with the civil society including the academia, is ready to collaborate.
Through the ISDR Interagency Working Group Wildland Fire it is envisaged to establish interagency and inter-sectoral forum of UN agencies and programmes, mechanisms of information and task sharing in the field of reducing the negative impacts of fire on the environment and humanity. The Working group will be supported by a Consultative Group consisting of representatives of the civil society, including the academia, non-government organizations, and the industry active in relevant fields or potentially to be involved.
The terms of reference of the Working Group yet has to be determined at its constituting meeting. However, taking into consideration earlier international conference resolutions there is a strong feeling that the Working Group will give priority to:
Establishment of internationally agreeable criteria for fire damage assessment and procedures for a Global Vegetation Fire Inventory i.a.w. with the requirements of the Conventions on Climate and Biodiversity as well as the overall scope of work of the UN agencies and programmes; and
Development of a scheme for the establishment and operational procedures of a global network of regional to national focal points for wildland fire early warning, monitoring and impact assessment, with the objective to enhance the capabilities of the existing Global Fire Monitoring system.
Ahern, F., and J.G. Goldammer (eds.). 2001. Global and Regional Wildfire Monitoring from Space: Planning a Coordinated International Effort, SPB Academic Publishing, The Hague (in press)
Anonymous 1998. Germany-Singapore Environmental Technology Agency (GSETA): Asia-Pacific Regional Workshop on Transboundary Atmospheric Pollution, 27-28 May 1998, Singapore. Int. Forest Fire News No. 19, 26-28.
Economy Commission for Europe/Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (ECE/FAO). 1998. Forest Fire Statistics 1995-1997, UN Economy Commission for Europe/Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, Timber Bulletin, Vol. LI, No.4. ECE/TIM/BULL/51/4, New York, Geneva, 19 p.
FAO 1986. Wildland Fire Management Terminology. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, FAO Forestry Paper 70.
Goh, K.T., D.H. Schwela, J.G. Goldammer, and O. Simpson. 1999. Health Guidelines for Vegetation Fire Events. Background Papers. Published on behalf of UNEP, WHO, and WMO. Institute of Environmental Epidemiology, Ministry of the Environment, Singapore, 498 p.
Goldammer, J.G. 1996. FAO/ECE/ILO Seminar on “Forest, Fire, and Global Change” Shushenskoe (Russian Federation), 4-9 August 1996. Int. Forest Fire News No.15, 40-47.
Goldammer, J.G. (convener) 1997. United Nations International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR) Early Warning Programme Report on Early Warning for Fire and Other Environmental Hazards. With contributions of R.E. Burgan, P. Cheney, M.A. Fosberg, V. Kelhä, J. Roads, A. Simard, and B.J. Stocks. IDNDR Secretariat, Geneva, October 1997. Printed for the International IDNDR Conference on Early Warning Systems for the Reduction of Natural Disasters, Potsdam, C 1-35
Goldammer, J.G. 1998a. UN-FAO/ECE/ILO Team of Specialists on Forest Fire. Minutes of the Meeting, Warsaw, Poland, 9 May 1998. Int. Forest Fire News No. 19, 88-93.
Goldammer, J.G. 1998b. Fire watch. Our Planet (UNEP) 9 (6), 28-29.
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Goldammer, J.G. 1999b. An overview of international guidelines: The ITTO Guidelines on Forest Fire Management. In: Tropical forest fire. Prevention, control, rehabilitation and trans-boundary issues. Proceedings, International Cross-Sectoral Forum on Forest Fire Management in South East Asia, Jakarta, 7-8 December 1998, 179-200. BAPPENAS/ITTO/JICA, Jakarta, 589 p.
Goldammer, J.G. 1999c. Public policies affecting forest fires in Europe and boreal/temperate Asia. In: Proceedings, FAO Meeting on Public Policies Affecting Forest Fires, 113-164. FAO Forestry Paper 138.
Goldammer, J.G. 1999d. Early warning systems for the prediction of and appropriate response to wildfires and related environmental hazards. In: Health Guidelines for Vegetation Fire Events. Background Papers (K.T.Goh, D.H. Schwela, J.G. Goldammer, and O. Simpson, eds.), 9-70. Institute of Environmental Epidemiology, Ministry of the Environment, Singapore, 498 p.
Goldammer, J.G. 1999e. Fire disasters, ecosystems and societies: Changing vulnerabilities. Contribution of the Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC) and Max Planck Institute for Chemistry to the IDNDR Programme Forum, Thematic Session “Disaster Reduction and Preparedness through Protection of Natural Resources”, Geneva, 5-9 July 1999.
Goldammer, J.G. 1999f. The contribution of the Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC) for early warning and management of wildfire. UNESCO International Scientific Conference on Fires in the Mediterranean Forests, Athens, 3-6 February 1999 (in press)
Goldammer, J.G. 2000. The Ethiopia fire emergency between February and April 2000. Int. Forest Fire News No. 22, 2-8.
Goldammer, J.G., and C.de Ronde (eds.). 2001. Fire management handbook for Subsahara Africa. NN Publ.
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Oertel, D., P. Haschberger, V. Tank, F. Schreier, B. Schimpf, B. Zhukov, K. Briess, H.-P. Röser, E. Lorenz, W. Skrbek, J.G. Goldammer, C. Tobehn, A. Ginati, U. Christmann. 1999. Two dedicated spaceborne fire missions. In: Proc. Joint Fire Science Conference and Workshop, Boise, Idaho, USA, 15-17 June 1999 (in press).
Schwela, D.H., J.G. Goldammer, L.H. Morawska, and O. Simpson. 1999. Health Guidelines for Vegetation Fire Events. Guideline document. Published on behalf of UNEP, WHO, and WMO. Institute of Environmental Epidemiology, Ministry of the Environment, Singapore, 291 p.
UNESCO 1999. First International Scientific Conference on “Fires in Mediterranean Forests: Prevention, Suppression – Soil Erosion – Reforestation”, Athens, Greece, 3-6 February 1999. Int. Forest Fire News No. 20, 88-90. (https://gfmc.online/course/coursere/gr_coure_1.html)
Vélez, R. 1997. FAO Committee on Mediterranean Forestry Questions Silva Mediterranea Network on Protection Against Forest Fires: Proposal for a Programme of Activities 1997-99. Int. Forest Fire News No. 16, 48-49.
The GFMC and its precursor host facility, the Fire Ecology Research Group, convened a number of international conferences on wildland fire ecology, strategic science planning and policy development. A list of these conferences and the main synthesis publications is provided:
Organization of international conferences:
Convener of a series of International Symposia and Conferences on Fire Ecology, University of Freiburg, Germany (1977, 1983, 1989)
Convener, Conference “Tropical Forests in Transition: Ecology of Natural and Anthropogenic Disturbance Processes” (Freiburg, Germany, 1991)
Co-convener (with P.J. Crutzen), Dahlem Conference “Fire in the Environment” (Berlin, 1992)
Convener, Conference “Fire in Ecosystems of Boreal Eurasia” (Krasnoyarsk, Russian Federation, 1993)
Co-Chair, International Conference “Mathematical Modelling of Forest Fires” (Tomsk, Russian Federation, 1995)
Convener, IUFRO World Congress Subject Group S1.09 Forest Fire Research, on “The Bor Forest Island Fire Experiment” (Tampere, Finland, 1995)
Co-Convener, UN FAO/ECE Seminar “Forest, Fire and Global Change” (Shushenskoye, Russian Federation, 1996)
Member, Organizing Committee, 2nd Wildland Fire Conference (Vancouver, Canada, 1997)
Co-convener, “First Baltic Forest Fire Conference” (Warsaw, Poland, 1998)
International Advisory Board (IAB), International Conference on Early Warning Systems for the Reduction of Natural Disasters (Potsdam, Germany, 1998)
Convener, Workshop “Fire on Ice” (Khabarovsk, Russian Federation, 1999)
Co-convener, Baltic Exercise on Fire Information and Resources Exchange – BALTEX FIRE 2000 (Kuopio, Finland 2000)
Co-convener, IUFRO World Congress Subject Group 8.05 Forest Fire Research (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 2000)
Convener, First German Forum on Disaster Reduction “Extreme Natural Events and Vulnerability” (Freiburg, Germany, 2000)
Major Synthesis Publications
Among ca. 150 scientific papers, conference proceedings and research and development reports:
Editor, “Fire in the Tropical Biota. Ecosystem Processes and Global Challenges” (Ecological Studies 84, Springer-Verlag, Berlin-New York, 1990, 497 p.)
Editor, “Fire in Ecosystem Dynamics. Mediterranean and Northern Perspectives” (with M.J. Jenkins, SPB Publishers, The Hague 1990, 199 p.)
Editor, “Tropical Forests in Transition. Ecology of Natural and Anthropogenic Disturbance Processes” (Birkhäuser-Verlag, Basel-Boston, 1992, 270 p.)
Author, “Feuer in Waldökosystemen der Tropen und Subtropen” <Fire in Forest Ecosystems of the Tropics and Subtropics, in German> (Birkhäuser-Verlag, Basel-Boston, 1993, 251 p.)
Co-Editor, “Fire in the Environment” (Dahlem Workshop, ES 13, with P.J. Crutzen, John Wiley, Chichester, 1993, 400 p.)
Editor, “Fire in Ecosystems of Boreal Eurasia” (with V.V.Furyaev, Kluwer Academic Publ., 1996, 528 p.)
Co-Editor, of “Sediment Records of Biomass Burning and Global Change” (with J.S. Clark, H. Cachier, B.J. Stocks, Springer-Verlag, 1997, 489 p.)
Co-Editor, “Fire in Southern African Savannas: Ecological and Atmospheric Perspectives” (with B.van Wilgen, M.O. Andreae, J. Lindesay, The University of Witwatersrand Press, 1997, 256 p.)
Co-Editor, “Global and Regional Wildfire Monitoring from Space: Planning a Coordinated International Effort” (with F. Ahern, SPB Academic Publishing, The Hague, 2001, in press, ca. 300 p.)
Co-Editor, “Fire Management Handbook for Subsahara Africa” (with C. de Ronde, NN Publ., 2001, in prep., ca. 300 p.)