New FAO mechanism will help countries manage the risk of wildfire

©FAO/Pilar Valbuena4 May 2022, Seoul - FAO has launched a new mechanism that will enable countries better understand, manage and affront forest fires.

The mechanism comes after a landmark UN report warned that extreme wildfires are set to become around 50 percent more frequent by the end of the century.

The Assuring the Future of Forests through Integrated Risk Management (AFFIRM) Mechanism was signed at the Fire Management Forum at the XV World Forestry Congress in Seoul, Republic of Korea, and will be implemented by FAO in collaboration with the Asian Forest Cooperation Organisation.

With funding from the Korea Forest Service (KFS), the global mechanism is a key contribution by the Republic of Korea to strengthen countries' capacities to anticipate and manage wildfires.

“Forest fires are being exacerbated by climate change and changes in land use, which is resulting in increasing frequency and intensity of uncontrolled forest fires,” said Senior FAO Forestry Officer Amy Duchelle.

“This mechanism will help countries to focus on strategies to prevent extreme fires from happening in the first place, rather than concentrating resources on putting fires out once they’ve already started.”

Pilot studies

The global mechanism will be piloted in three Asian countries, where it will trial the implementation of integrated risk management practices using the skills and expertise of the Korea Forest Service.

Through these case studies, AFFIRM aims to develop integrated risk management plans to use as examples for other countries to follow, creating a methodology that will enable countries to better conduct disturbance risk assessments and provide an improved understanding of forest hazards and forest-related risks.

“The AFFIRM mechanism addresses the first two ‘R’s of integrated fire management: research and analysis, and risk reduction,” said FAO Fire Management Specialist Peter Moore.

“It will also be an important step in the development of a Global Fire Management Platform, which will be co-led by FAO and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), to strengthen countries’ capacities to implement integrated fire management.”

While still currently under development, the Global Fire Management Platform was announced during the Fire Management Forum by senior officials from FAO and UNEP. The platform aims to respond to countries’ demands to reduce the negative impacts of wildfires on livelihoods, landscapes and global climate stability.

Fire Management Forum

The one-day Fire Management Forum at the World Forestry Congress brought together global experts and stakeholders to accelerate multisectoral cooperation and integrated approaches for preventing and managing forest fires.

The forum covered the different approaches to forest fires, including cross-boundary fire management and collaboration and community-led forest fire management.

Other topics included building sustainable and fire-resilient societies and landscapes, governance for strengthened cooperation between different sectors in fire management, and creating capacity through innovative research training programmes.

last updated:  Wednesday, August 31, 2022