26 November 2010, Rome - The Forestry Department of FAO yesterday received an important Spanish award in recognition of its outstanding merits in forest fire protection.
Each year, the Spanish non-governmental organization "Asociación para la Promoción de Actividades Socioculturales (APAS)" gives the "El Batefuegos de Oro" (Golden Fire Swatter) award to distinguished persons or organizations with outstanding merits in forest fire protection.
This year, the jury, which is made up of high-level experts from Spanish ministries, NGOs and civil society, chose FAO's Forest Assessment, Management and Conservation Division to receive its 2010 honour. The award came under the "International" category for helping developing countries in particular in forest fire prevention and suppression.
"This is a great honour for FAO and an important recognition of our work in the field of fire management which has demonstrated over the years that well-established community based and integrated fire management systems can effectively protect human lives, livelihoods, forest and natural resources," said José Antonio Prado, Director of the Forest Management Division of FAO, after receiving the award in Madrid.
FAO has coordinated the development of the Fire Management Voluntary Guidelines aimed at helping countries develop an integrated approach to fire management, from prevention and preparedness to suppression and restoration.
The FAO Guidelines advise authorities and other stakeholder groups that fire-fighting should be an integral part of a coherent and balanced policy applied not only to forests but also across other land-uses on the landscape.
The Guidelines are now widely used all over the world by industralized and developing countries as a basis for formulating fire management policies, strategies and practices.