GFMC AND THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE

Council of Europe
Directorate of Culture and Cultural and Natural Heritage
European Open Partial Agreement on the Prevention,
Protection Against and Organization of Relief in
Major Natural and Technological Disasters
(EUR-OPA Major Hazards Agreement)


The European and Mediterranean Major Hazards Agreement (EUR-OPA)

Created in 1987, the European and Mediterranean Major Hazards Agreement (EUR-OPA) is a platform for co-operation between European and Southern Mediterranean countries in the field of major natural and technological disasters: its field of action covers the knowledge of hazards, risk prevention, risk management, post-crisis analysis and rehabilitation.

The Agreement is “partial”, as not all member States of the Council of Europe participate, but also “open”, as three Southern Mediterranean countries count among its members. It has to date 25 Member States.

In addition to the political drive given by Ministerial Sessions, backed by its Committee of Permanent Correspondents (representatives from national Ministries in the field), the technical contribution from its Network of Specialised Centres (25 Centres covering different types of risk) is an essential element of the Agreement’s mechanism.


Network of Specialised Euro-Mediterranean Centres

These structures facilitate the concrete contribution to the common objectives of the various partners through the implementation of European expertise and research, formation and information programs. Their specific role is thus to develop projects, both at the national and regional level, who aim to improve the awareness and resilience to major risks within the population.

First joint activity of ECFF and GFMC in 2007

As a contribution of the European and Mediterranean Major Hazards Agreement (EUR-OPA) a special paper was prepared by ECFF and GFFMC for the 4th International Wildland Fire Conference in 2007:

Joint activity 2009: Advanced Seminar “Wildfires and Human Security: Fire Management on Terrain Contaminated by Radioactivity, Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) and Land Mines”

This seminar addressed the consequences of wildfires and fire management on contaminated terrain and will be conducted in Kiev and Chornobyl, Ukraine, 6-8 October 2009, by the Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC) in the frame of the activities of the Council of Europe (CoE) and the joint project “Enhancing National Capacity on Fire Management and Risk Reduction in the South Caucasus” (Environment and Security Initiative [ENVSEC]), the UNISDR Regional Southeast Europe / Caucasus and Central Asia Wildland Fire Networks and the UNECE / FAO Team of Specialists on Forest Fire.

Joint activities 2010-2011

On 10 June 2010, the GFMC and EFFC organized jointly a video conference “Recent Developments and Needs for Wildfire Fighting on the Ground: Tactics and Technologies”. Main topics of the video conference agenda were tactics and training in forest fire suppression, technologies and ground means used, as well as end-users requirements. Participants from different fire services and relevant organizations in Europe participated.

Establishment of the Regional Fire Monitoring Center (RFMC) for the Southeast Europe / Caucasus Region through GFMC and funding of the EUR-OPA Secretariat

At the 61st meeting of the EUR-OPA Committee of Permanent Correspondents held 29-30 September 2011 in Yerevan (Armenia) a proposal adopted on “Preventing and Fighting Wildland Fires in context of Climate Change” (recommendation 2011-2).

Joint activities 2013-2014
EUR-OPA cosponsor the “UNECE/FAO Regional Forum on Cross-boundary Fire Management” (United Nations Geneva, 28-29 November 2013):

Establishment an inauguration of the Regional Eastern Europe Fire Monitoring Center (REEFMC) and Regional Seminar and Consultation “Wildfires in the Eastern European Region: Science, Policies and Management”, at the National University of Life and Environmental Sciences of Ukraine (NULESU) (Kyiv, Ukraine, 4 March 2013), supported by GFMC with funding of the EUR-OPA Secretariat:

Workshop “Defense of Villages, Farms and Other Rural Assets against Wildfires: Guidelines for Rural Populations, Local Community and Municipality Leaders in the Balkan Region”, supported by the Council of Europe, the Regional Fire Monitoring Center SE Europe / Caucasus (RFMC), Regional Eastern European Fire Monitoring Center (REEFMC) and the UNECE/FAO Team of Specialists on Forest Fire; European Center of Forest Fires (ECFF), National Technical University of Athens, Athens, Greece, 13 May 2013.

National Round Table on Fire Management “Sharing Responsibilities and Resources at Economically Difficult Times”, under the co-auspices of the Hellenic Agricultural Organization “Dimitra”, General Secretariat for Civil Protection, General Secretariat of Forests, General Secretariat of the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change, and the UNECE/FAO Team of Specialists on Forest Fire; supported by Council of Europe and Maria Tsakos Foundation; Evgenideio Conference Center, Athens, Greece, 14 May 2013:

Second “International Fire Management Week” in Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russian Federation, organized by the GFMC and the Russian Federal Forest Service Rosleskhoz and the National Aerial Forest Fire Center Avialesookhrana in the frame of the “German-Russian Forest Fire Task Force” and the activities sponsored by EUR-OPA Secretariat; with (a) Scientific Conference “Post-Fire Natural Regeneration of Forests in Siberia”, and (b) revisit of the Bor Forest Island Fire Experiment of 1993; Krasnoyarsk, Bor Forest Island, Russian Federation17-23 June 2013:

Celebration of the “Knowledge Day” at the National University of Life and Environmental Sciences of Ukraine (NULESU) / Regional Eastern European Fire Monitoring Center (REEFMC) and award of honorary doctor degree to the head of GFMC; Kiev, Ukraine, 1 September 2013:

General Assembly and 20th Anniversary of Green Cross International (GCI): Ceremony of Green Star Awards of GCI with UN-OCHA and UNEP to awardees of the Global Wildland Fire Network, among which the two regional centers established with funding of the EUR-OPA Secretariat were honored: Nikola Nikolov (Regional Southeast Europe Fire Monitoring Center, Macedonia) and Sergiy Zibtsev (Regional Eastern European Fire Monitoring Center, Ukraine); UN Geneva, Switzerland, 2 September 2013:

Eastern European consultation on the follow-up of the UNECE/FAO Regional Forum on Cross-boundary Fire Management (UN Geneva, 28-29 November 2013) and first Eastern European Prescribed Fire Demonstration and Long-term Observation Experiment on the use of prescribed fire in wildfire hazard reduction in pine stands at the Regional Eastern European Fire Monitoring Center (REEFMC), Kyiv and Boyarka Forest Research Station, Ukraine, 6-9 April 2014:

Field study “Fire Management in UNESCO World Natural and Cultural Heritage Sites and other Protected Area”, supported by the Council of Europe, EUR-OPA Secretariat; Autonomous Monastic State of the Holy Mountain, Greece, 29 May – 2 June 2014:

Joint activities 2015-2016

VI Ukraine Fire Management Week with Second Eastern European Prescribed Fire Demonstration and Long-term Observation Experiment on the use of prescribed fire in wildfire hazard reduction in pine stands and Seminar “Fire Management and Research in Forests, Protected Areas and Natural Heritage Sites”; Regional Eastern European Fire Monitoring Center (REEFMC), Kyiv and Boyarka Forest Research Station, Ukraine, 25-27 March 2015:

VII Ukraine Fire Management Week with Third Eastern European Prescribed Fire Demonstration and Long-term Observation Experiment on the use of prescribed fire for enhancing regeneration of Scots pine stands; Regional Eastern European Fire Monitoring Center (REEFMC), Kyiv and Boyarka Forest Research Station, Ukraine, 17-20 April 2016:

Training Course “Enhancing Ground and Aerial Forest Fire Suppression Capacities in the Republic of Macedonia”, a joint course organized by the Regional SE Europe / Caucasus Fire Monitoring Center (RFMC), the U.S. Forest Service and the GFMC, with GFMC contribution introducing the “International Fire Aviation Guidelines and International Manual of Common Rules for Fire Aviation”; under sponsorship of EUR-OPA); Skopje, FYR Macedonia, 7-9 September 2016

  • Regional SE Europe / Caucasus Fire Monitoring Center (RFMC): http://www.rfmc.mk/
  • UNISDR Regional SE Europe / Caucasus Wildland Fire Network:

https://gfmc.online/GlobalNetworks/SEEurope/SEEurope.html

First National Coordination Meeting on Enhancing Fire Management Capacity in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, a cooperative meeting organized by the Regional Eastern European Fire Monitoring Center (REEFMC), the U.S. Forest Service and the GFMC, under sponsorship of the Council of Europe (CoE), Secretariat of the Euro-Mediterranean Major Hazards Agreement (EUR-OPA) (J.G. Goldammer); Kyiv, Ukraine, 22-23 September 2016:

Special GFMC web page on fire management on contaminated terrain: https://gfmc.online/GlobalNetworks/SEEurope/SEEurope_1_radio.html

National Round Table on Fire Management, Republic of Macedonia, held under sponsorship of the Council of Europe (CoE), Secretariat of the Euro-Mediterranean Major Hazards Agreement (EUR-OPA); Skopje, FYR Macedonia, 09 November 2016:

Regional Consultation on Cross-boundary Cooperation in Fire Management, held under sponsorship of the Council of Europe (CoE), Secretariat of the Euro-Mediterranean Major Hazards Agreement (EUR-OPA) (facilitator: GFMC / J.G. Goldammer); Skopje, FYR Macedonia, 11 November 2016:

Joint activities 2017

National Round Table “Fires in the Natural and Cultural Landscapes of Ukraine: Towards the Development of a National Fire Management Policy”, organized by the Regional Eastern European Fire Monitoring Center (REEFMC), GFMC and the State Forest Resources Agency of Ukraine, with participation of the Ministries of Agrarian Policy and Food, Internal Affairs and Ecology and Natural Resources, and the State Emergency Service of Ukraine, sponsored by the Council of Europe, Major Hazards Agreement (EUR-OPA) through (GFMC); Kyiv, REEFMC/NULESU, Ukraine, 26 October 2017:

Regional Consultation on “Cross-Boundary Cooperation in Landscape Fire Management”, organized by the REEFMC and GFMC; sponsored by the Council of Europe, Major Hazards Agreement (EUR-OPA) through (GFMC); Kyiv, REEFMC/NULESU, Boyarka Forest Experimental Station, Ukrainian Center of Advance Training of Forestry Professionals, Ukraine, 27 October 2017:

National Round Table on the Future of Fire Management, Portugal (J.G. Goldammer); Office of the Prime Minister, Lisbon, Portugal, 10 November 2017.

International conference “Protection of Human Settlements and Social Infrastructure from Wildfires”, organized by EMERCOM of Russia, with GFMC contribution on behalf of the EUR-OPA Major Hazards Agreement Meeting (EUR-OPA) “Towards Building Holistic Approaches in Landscape Fire Management in Eurasia: Experiences and Prospects”; State Fire Academy of EMERCOM of Russia, Moscow, Russian Federation, 15-16 November 2017:

Joint activities 2018

23 August 2018
Meeting between the head of GFMC and Prime Minister of Greece, Mr. Alexis Tsipras, on the establishment and the modus operandi of the “Committee on the Future of Landscape Fire Management and Wildfire Risk Reduction in Greece”; Maximos Mansion, Athens, Greece.

Maximos Mansion: Meeting between Prime Minister of Greece, Mr. Alexis Tsipras, and GFMC Director Johann Georg Goldammer. Photo: PM Office, Athens.

13 October 2018
Meeting of the UNISDR Wildland Fire Advisory Group (WFAG) in conjunction with the meeting of the International Liaison Committee (ILC) and the Brazilian Conference Organizing Committee for the 7th International Wildland Fire Conference (Co-Sponsor: Council of Europe / EUR-OPA); GFMC, Freiburg, Germany.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is GFMC-WFAG-ILC-12-14-October-2018-03.jpgThe Joint WFAG / ILC Group

11 December 2018
National Round Table on the Future of Landscape Fire Management in Greece, convened by the Committee on the Future of Landscape Fire Management and Wildfire Risk Reduction in Greece” (GFMC Chair) and the Office of the Prime Minister of Greece; Athens, Greece.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is GFMC-GR-Epiropi-Nat-Round-Table-11-Dec-2018-2.jpgThe Inter-Agency Round Table “Future of Landscape Fire Management in Greece”, convened by the Committee on Perspectives of Landscape Fire Management in Greece, was held in the Ministry of Citizen Protection, Athens, 11 December 2018, with the participation of the key agencies of the country involved in fire management, and representatives of civil society. Photo: G. Xanthopoulos

Joint activities 2019

01 February 2019
Tripartite online conference between the Secretariat of the European and Mediterranean Major Hazards Agreement (EUR-OPA) (G. Silvestrini), the Secretariat of the German Committee for Disaster Reduction (DKKV) (B. Thiebes) and with GFMC (J.G. Goldammer) on future collaboration between EUR-OPA and DKKV; Strasbourg, Bonn, Freiburg.


GFMC online meeting with EUR-OPA Secretariat. From left: G. Silvestrini and P. Cadeac

07-08 February 2019
Submission of the Report of the Committee on the Future of Landscape Fire Management and Wildfire Risk Reduction in Greece (GFMC Chair) to the Prime Minister of Greece, Mr. Alexis Tsipras, and the President of the Hellenic Parliament, Mr. Nikolaos Voutsis, and the leaders of the Parliamentary Commissions leaders (Mrs. Aikaterini Igglezi, MP and Chair of the Special Standing Committee on the Protection of the Environment; Mrs. Chara Kafantari, MP and Chair of the Standing Committee on Production and Commerce; Mr. Mr Antonios Syrigos, MP and Chair of the Standing Committee on Public Administration, Public Order and Justice); Briefing of the President of the Hellenic Republic, Mr. Prokopis Pavlopoulos; Press Conference and meeting with Members of the Hellenic Parliament; Maximos Mansion, Hellenic Parliament, Presidential Mansion (Proedrikό Mégaro), Athens, Greece.

Briefing of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in Maximos Mansion by the Committee, with the participation of State Minister Dimitrios Tsanakopoulos and the Secretary for Civil Protection, Ioannis Tafyllis (on 7 February 2019). ©Photo: Maximos.

Handing over the Report to the Hellenic Parliament. From left: Committee Chair Johann Georg Goldammer, Mr. Nikolaos Voutsis, President of the Hellenic Parliament, Mrs. Aikaterini Igglezi, MP and Chair of the Special Standing Committee on the Protection of the Environment, Mrs. Chara Kafantari, MP and Chair of the Standing Committee on Production and Commerce, Mr. Mr Antonios Syrigos, MP and Chair of the Standing Committee on Public Administration, Public Order and Justice. ©Photo: Hellenic Parliament-Photographer: Aliki Eleftheriou, Athens-Greece

On 8 February 2019 the report was handed over to the President of the Hellenic Republic, His Excellency Mr. Prokopis Pavlopoulos (Center). ©Photo: ANA-MPA.

At the Presidential Mansion (Proedrikό Mégaro) the President of the Hellenic Republic and the Commission discussed the consequences of climate change and land-use change on future risks of dangerous landscape fires and the measures to be taken. ©Photo: ANA-MPA.

25 March 2019
The President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, and the Rector of the National University of Life and Environmental Sciences of Ukraine (NUBiP), Prof. Dr. Stanislav Nikolaenko familiarized themselves with the work of the Regional Eastern Europe Fire Monitoring Center (REEFMC). The head of the state met with the REEFMC head, Prof. Dr. Sergiy Zibtsev, staff of teachers and students of the university, and visited the exposition of the REEFMC and was informed about the roles of the Council of Europe through its Major Hazards Agreement (EUR-OPA) and the GFMC as sponsors main directions of the center’s activities in the Chornobyl Exclusion Zone (ChEZ), the social and ecological consequences of fires in the ChEZ, the operations of joint forces and the problem of agricultural burnings in Ukraine; Kyiv, NUBiP, Ukraine.

President of Ukraine (right), Rector of the National University of Life and Environmental Sciences of Ukraine (middle) and the head of REEFMC (left) meeting at REEFMC. Photo: NUBiP

05-09 April 2019
8th Ukraine International Fire Management Week was organized by the Regional Eastern European Fire Monitoring Center (REEFMC) and the Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC):

Summary: On 8 April 2019 the GFMC and REEFMC conducted field training exercising prescribed burning operations and suppression firing in Oster Military Forest District, Ukraine.

On 9 April 2019 – the Second National Round Table “Fires in the Natural and Cultural Landscapes of Ukraine: Developing a National Policy for the Wildfires Management” provided the floor for a consultation on the draft Law of Ukraine On Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of Ukraine Concerning the Immediate Elimination of the Crisis Situation Due to Forest Fires. The Round Table was an initiative of and hosted by the Regional Eastern Europe Fire Monitoring Center with the support of the Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC) and the Council of Europe (Kyiv, REEFMC / National University of Life and Environmental Sciences of Ukraine (NULESU), Ukraine.

The Round Table was opened by the Rector of NULESU, Prof. Dr. Stanislav Nikolaenko, and by Prof. Dr. Petro Lakyda, Director of the Institute of Forestry and Landscape-Park Management (right). Workshop conveners (Prof. Dr. Sergiy V. Zibtsev and Prof. Dr. Johann Georg Goldammer) at the left.

Participants of the Round Table from different Ukrainian agencies, the Parliament, forestry enterprises and academia.

13-17 May 2019
UNISDR Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (GPDRR) 2019, with participation of the EUR-OPA Secretariat and GFMC (representing the EUR-OPA Specialized Center, the Global Wildland Fire Network and the Regional Fire Management Resource Centers; UN Geneva, Switzerland

The IGNITE Stage offered an opportunity to brief the attendees of the GPDRR to the concept of Integrated Landscape Fire Management concepts and planning. Photo: German Committee for Disaster Reduction (DKKV). For the video recording of the presentation and discussion see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DrRF6704W9w

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is GFMC-GPDRR-2019-Official-Statement-27.jpg

Statements Session: Statement by the GFMC on behalf of the Global Wildland Fire Network and the International Wildfire Preparedness Mechanism (PDF 0.4 MB). For the video recording of the GFMC Statement see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qriGSwT63xY

27 August 2019
Opening of the Regional Eurasia Fire Monitoring Center (REFMC) und the auspices of the Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC) and the Global Wildland Fire Network, with support of the Council of Europe (EUR-OPA Major Hazards Agreement); Sukachev Institute of Forest, Krasnoyarsk, Russian Federation.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is REFMC-Shield-1-1030x643.jpg

Joint activities 2019

13 December 2019
Meeting of the Committee on Environmental Policy and Environmental Management of the Parliament of Ukraine (Verkhovna Rada) at Boyarka Forest Research Station, with a visit of the members of the Parliament at an exposition of the Regional Eastern Europe Fire Monitoring Center (REEFMC). During the meeting the draft Law of Ukraine on Improvement of Fire Management in the Cultural and Natural Landscapes, developed with the support of the Council of Europe (EUR-OPA) and the GFMC, and the plans to establish a Fire Research and Training Center in Boyarka Station was presented to parliament members. It was agreed that the Law need to be presented for Parliament for implementation and to prepare a meeting of the Committee devoted to address landscape fires with representatives of REEFMC.

Members of the Committee on Environmental Policy and Environmental Management of the Parliament of Ukraine and leadership and staff of the National University of at Life and Environmental Sciences of Ukraine at Boyarka Forest Research Station, with a visit of the members of the Parliament at an exposition of REEFMC, presented by Sergiy Zibtsev and Vasyl Gumeniuk.

Joint activities 2020

23 January 2020
Launch of a web page “Natural Hazards – Landscape Fires” as part of BeSafeNet to provide basic understanding of the fundamentals of landscape fire and how people can protect themselves and their assets from the threats of wildfires. The website is tailored for high school students (age 15-17 years):

The website is available in four languages: English, French, Greek, Italian and Russian
http://www.besafenet.net/en-gb/natural-hazards-landscape-fires

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