GFMC AND THE FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS (FAO)

Cooperation between GFMC and FAO

History (1985+) and Building the Global Fire Management Hub (2023+) 


The FAO programme in forestry addresses one of the most important, complex and controversial issues of modern times – how to conserve the world’s forests, while also using trees and forests to contribute to the economic, social and environmental well-being of the world’s rapidly expanding population. Through provision of a neutral forum for policy and technical dialogue; information and advice; and direct technical cooperation, FAO helps member countries to conserve trees, forests and the biological diversity they contain, and sustainably derive products and services from them. Technical advice for the protection of forest against destructive wildfires and the application of principles of Integrated Fire Management (IFM) – including the use of prescribed fire in forest ecosystem management and in land-use systems, particularly through community participation (Community-Based Fire Management) – represent a key activity of FAO’s Forestry Department.

Establishment of the Global Fire Management Hub (2023 onwards)

Given the long-term experience of FAO and its key partners in integrated fire management and from the international fire community, FAO and UNEP are co-developing a Global Fire Management Hub. The aim of the Global Fire Management Hub is to strengthen countries’ capacities to implement integrated fire management with the major impact of reducing the many negative effects of wildfires on people, landscapes, and global climate. The Hub, which was officially launched in May 2023 at the 8th International Wildland Fire Conference, will function as a UN mechanism to promote the implementation of a global program that will:

  • Address the five elements known as the 5Rs: Review and analysis, Risk Reduction, Readiness, Response, and Recovery
  • Support governments to develop policies that promote integrated landscape fire management and address multiple / secondary risks (e.g. fire and subsequent damages to forest ecosystems) in a holistic way
  • Provide access to and application of the accumulated knowledge and expertise in integrated landscape fire management;
  • Bolster international cooperation on integrated landscape fire management and strengthen networks and thematic resource centers at the global level, where the state-of-the-art, future work and innovation can be shared among policy and decision-makers and with the broader community of practitioners
  • Develop instruments to fund application of integrated fire management actions at multiple scales

FAO preliminary website addressing the initiation of the Global Fire Management Hub

At a first technical workshop, held at the FAO (Rome, 13-15 November 2023), the concept / modus operandi and the roadmap with key partners were discussed, along with integration and transition of the 25-year work experience of the Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC) and the Global Wildland Fire Network and the Regional Fire Management Resource Centers into the Fire Hub.

At UNFCCC COP-28 a side event “Collective Action on Wildfire Management: Ways Forward to Address Evolving Disasters” was organized jointly by FAO and the Korea Forest Service (KFS), in which the Fire Hub was addressed by FAO and GFMC: COP-28 website

At the 81st session of the UN Economic Commission for Europe, Committee on Forests and the Forest Industry, jointly held with the 42nd session of the FAO European Forestry Commission (San Marino, 20-23 November 2023), the report “European Forestry Commission matters (Food and Agriculture Organization): Integrated fire management” was presented and discussed. The document prepared by FAO summarizes the global and regional level FAO initiatives and activities towards Integrated Fire Management, including the launch of the Global Fire Management Hub:

19-21 March 2024
The second technical workshop of the Global Fire Management Hub, held at the FAO in Rome, addressed “The operation of the Global Wildland Fire Regional Networks and Centers in connection with the Fire Hub”. On-site participation included representatives from the regions of the Global Wildland Fire Network, FAO, UNEP, Canada, South Korea and the U.S.A. Online statements in the opening session were given by Germany – the donor of the first phase of the establishment of the Fire Hub, WMO, Council of Europe, OSCE and representatives from Canada, South Korea and the U.S.A.

28-30 May 2024
Global Fire Management Hub – Third Technical Workshop: “Development of the Roadmap for the Fire Hub”.  The Third Technical Workshop brought together a diversity of countries and international organizations to discuss expectations for and contributions to the Fire Hub, emphasizing the collaborative nature of the efforts to forge new partnerships for the Fire Hub’s future activities. The workshop built on the outcomes of the previous workshops to further refine the operationalization of the Fire Hub before progress on this initiative is presented to FAO Members during the 27th Session of the FAO Committee on Forestry (COFO) in July 2024.

Participants of the 3rd planning workshop. ©Photo: FAO.

Retrospective Overview of joint FAO/GFMC Activities since 1985

Development of a non-legally binding Strategy to Enhance International Cooperation in Fire Management (2005-2007)

Note: The original repository of the strategy documents at the FAO website have been subject to repeated changes (URLs expiring, no auto-forwards). Thus, the following FAO documents are mirrored by GFMC / FAO repository:

Development of an International Wildland Fire Accord (2004-2005)

Reports of Meetings

FAO/ITTO International Expert Meeting on Forest Fire Management (Rome, March 2001)

FAO Consultation on the proposed Fire Management Code (Rome, March 2006)

FAO Consultation on the proposed Fire Management Code (Madrid, May 2006)

Selected Publications

FAO / GFMC Partnership

In December 2004 FAO and the GFMC signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cooperation to

  • Improve the dissemination of information about forest fires through any appropriate means, including internet linkages, publications of relevant reports such as ‘FAO and the State of the World’s Forest (SOFO)’, and through the respective websites of the Parties
  • Develop fire management information systems
  • Develop, display and maintain wildland fire databases and country fire profiles
  • Jointly organize regional and international consultations, round tables and fire management workshops
  • Collaborate in preparing press releases or other materials for the media concerning wildland fire
  • Collaborate in Global Wildland Fire Assessments in the frame of the Global Forest Resources Assessments
  • Collaborate at UN inter-agency level to develop an international wildland fire agreement

GFMC Field Missions for FAO

In the 1980s the GFMC conducted several fire management field missions – the following reports and materials are exemplary:

Joint FAO/GFMC Conferences and Training

The following conferences and training are exemplary:

FAO / GFMC / UNU Training Course for Instructors in Community Based Forest Fire Management – Nelspruit, South Africa, 30 October-12 November 2004


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