Asia Wildland Fire Network
Central Asia has recently suffered major forest and other wildland fire problems. The causes of an increasing occurrence of wildfires in forests and other wildlands, including the underlying reasons for increasing human-caused fires, vary within the region and are due to:
It has been proposed that a Regional Wildland Fire Network for Central Asia would assist to promote cooperation and sharing of resources in wildland fire management, including wildland fire science. In order to create this network, one of the six networks within the region of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UN-ECE), a major regional conference, organized by the UNECE/FAO Team of Specialists on Forest Fire was held in Antalya, Turkey, 30 March - 3 April 2004.
Several reasons supported the idea for holding such a regional conference in Turkey. First, the Balkan countries, some of them being in a post-war situation and under reconstruction, as well as the South Eastern European countries which are still in economic and political transition, have not participated in recent activities of the ECE/FAO Fire Team of Specialists on Forest Fire and other international wildland fire research and development projects. Second, the neighbouring countries of Turkey, such as the Caucasus states, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan, are quite isolated from recent scientific and technological developments in fire management. Third, the fire problems in Mongolia and northern China, and to a limited extent in Afghanistan, call for cooperation with the ECE region.
From the point of view of the ECE/FAO/ILO Team of Specialists on Forest Fire and the Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC), which coordinates the work of the team in the ECE region and keeps close contacts with non-ECE countries, the countries listed above deserve full attention and support to bring them into the family of the international community of forest fire scientists, managers and policy makers.
The conference was concluded successfully and resulted in the “Antalya Declaration on Cooperation in Wildland Fire Management in the Balkans, Eastern Mediterranean, Near East and Central Asia”:
Follow-up discussions were held in Almaty, Kazakhstan, 20-21 July 2004 (participants: Focal Points from Kazakhstan, Russian Federation and GFMC). At the Regional Central Asian Forest Congress “Forest Policy: Problems and Solutions”, Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic, 25-27 November 2004, the GFMC presented the status of the regional network and the Global Wildland Fire Network. In the resolution of the congress the forest services of Kyrgystan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan endorsed the participation in the Global Wildland Fire Network and the development of an international wildland fire accord.