On July 20, through a virtual signing ceremony, representatives of the Ministry of Environment, Water and Ecological Transition of Ecuador (MAATE), Bianca Dager (Vice Minister of Environment), and of the Pau Costa Foundation (PCF), Míriam Piqué (President of the Foundation’s Board of Trustees), formalized the framework collaboration agreement between the two institutions to exchange knowledge and improve forest fire prevention and firefighting. The event was also attended by Byron Lagla, director of Biodiversity of MAATE; Jordi Vendrell, director of the PCF; and Daniel Segura, manager of the Amazonia Sin Fuego Program.
The agreement establishes a cooperation framework between the two entities to share and exchange knowledge, experiences and contributions of professionals at the technical and operational levels in the field of forest fire management. The aim is to start with the strengthening of capacities in Integrated Fire Management within the scope of the Amazonia Without Fire Program (PASF). In fact, for years, both institutions have been collaborating in this program through integrated fire management courses (BREMIF). This cooperation has become a reference in the region and will be continued with this agreement. Julián Cuevas, from the PCF Training Area, will be the person in charge of coordinating this collaboration on behalf of the Foundation.
Amazonia without Fire Program (MAATE) is an initiative that aims to develop and implement actions to reduce the incidence of forest fires and generate sustainable development activities through alternative practices to the use of fire in the agricultural sector. All this to contribute to the protection of the environment and improve the quality of life of the communities, in addition to strengthening their capacities within the framework of the introduction to the prevention and control of forest fires.
“Faced with the problem of forest fires, we have to work together. We have to build bridges between institutions. We have to put knowledge in community. Environmental education, forest restoration and fire management are one of the key pieces for the mitigation of large forest fires. I hope this is the beginning of a long and fruitful collaboration and that we move forward together to address the problem of large forest fires,” said Míriam Piqué, president of the Board of Trustees of the PCF, who signed the agreement on behalf of the Foundation.
Specifically, the areas of cooperation covered by the agreement are: planning, research and management in the prevention and mitigation of forest fire damage, risk prediction and fire behavior; preparation of human, material, ground and aerial resources to manage forest fires; management of landscapes at risk through fire management and forest fire suppression; forest restoration; forestry education, awareness and outreach; research, development and innovation; other knowledge and experience that may be of interest to the parties in the field of forest fire protection.
“We are pleased to sign this technical cooperation agreement. Undoubtedly, this is an opportunity to strengthen integrated fire management actions. And now it is up to us whether this remains a signature or whether we really put content and concrete actions of collaboration”, adds Bianca Dager, Vice Minister of Environment and signatory of the agreement on behalf of MAATE.
The PCF also works in other countries in the Americas. For example, it is worth mentioning the cooperation with CONAF (Corporación Nacional Forestal, Chile), which through the EGIF program contributes to empowering CONAF and creating a training framework for professions that in turn will internally train professionals at different levels of the organization; the collaboration with the Federation of Volunteer Firefighters of Córdoba (Argentina) for the creation of a training framework; or the training we offered at the Otuquis National Park Transboundary Event (Santa Cruz, Bolivia) together with entities from the region.
“For the Pau Costa Foundation, this agreement represents a unique opportunity to continue developing with Amazonia sin Fuego, a reference program in the region, joint actions of integrated fire management, training and awareness, while allowing us to further strengthen a South American network of experts in forest fires, in cooperation with initiatives in Chile, Argentina and Bolivia,” concludes Jordi Vendrell, director of the Foundation.