Project FireFight South East Asia

 WWF - The World Wide Fund for Nature and IUCN - The World Conservation Union have joined forces to develop Project FireFight South East Asia. Implementation of the project was initiated in March 2000 with support from the EU. The project seeks to secure essential policy reform through a strategy of advocacy using syntheses and analysis of existing information supporting new outputs. The project operates at national and regional level across South East Asia making efforts to support and advocate the creation of legislative and economic bases for mitigating harmful anthropogenic forest fires.

Products and insights are being developed in each of the three themes: Economics of Fire Uses, Community Based Fire Management (CBFiM) and Legal and Regulatory Aspects of Forest and Land Fires. A key requirement for Project FireFight South East Asia is clear targeting of messages to identified audiences and stakeholders using appropriate and effective mechanisms.

By March 2002 the Project has: 


Project FireFight South East Asia will continue to build on its work to identify underlying causes of fires, in particular the stakeholders whose behaviour puts the most pressure on ecosystems at risk. Its advocacy and communications activities will focus on these stakeholders, working with the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), who have taken a lead in forest fire matters.

Insights arising from the reviews, networks and analysis include:

With respect to Community Involvement in their fires:

With respect to laws and regulations in the region:

With respect to the economics of fires

At the level of smallholders, the investment for using zero burning is simply not possible at present

Comparing the relatively low financial costs of zero-burning methods and fire management with the enormous economic costs entailed by society at large from fires, it is clear that there is a market and institutional failure in fire management

More Generally:

¨     For South East Asia there is little data on:

Number of fires

¨     There has been virtually no research on:

¨     So the “problem” is ill-defined

¨     Governments in the region need to be enabled to deal with underlying causes of fires effectively instead of merely reacting fire outbreaks

¨     The private sector plays almost no role in forest fire management although it is a key source of major fires