South Africa’s largest wildfire resource management resource, Working On Fire, was represented at the 8th International Wildland Fire Conference (IWFC) in Porto, Portugal this week.
The delegation from South Africa’s Working On Fire – Kishugu Joint Venture, which implements the award-winning Working On Fire Programme, attended the conference which brought together key stakeholders in wildland fire management and is widely regarded as the most important conference on wildfire management in the context of climate change and global warming.
The WOF-Kishugu JV delegation from South Africa included three members of the JV’s top management and two General Managers.
“It was an excellent opportunity for collaborative efforts to address wildfire risks amidst the challenges of climate change,” said the JV’s Project Manager Trevor Abrahams.
“The IWFC serves as a nexus for governments, wildfire practitioners, and private sector entities, fostering knowledge exchange and global partnerships. It aims to develop policies, enhance governance, and reduce the impacts of wildfires on the environment and humanity.
“This conference brought together those involved within the wildland fire management landscape, governments, wildfire practitioners, private sector like forestry companies, environmental groups and a host of non-governmental agencies, with a single aim and objective to discuss global trends in wildfire management but also to develop strategies and plans to mitigate and reduce wildfire risks within the context of climate change and global warming.”
“WOF-Kishugu JV’s expertise in Integrated Fire Management Solutions (IFMS) has garnered international recognition, with deployments in countries like Indonesia, Chile, and Canada.
Our participation at IWFC strengthens our global presence in wildland fire management,” Abrahams added.
The opening ceremony was attended by Juan Cabandie, the Minister of the Environment of Argentina, and his counterpart, Doarte Cordeiro from Portugal who stressed the importance of international cooperation in wildland fire management. He also called for greater investment in research and development to improve our ability to predict and prevent wildland fires.
In his video message to the opening ceremony, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres stressed the importance of gathering experts from around the world to discuss fire governance principles. He said that wildland fires are a growing threat to communities and ecosystems around the world, and that we need to work together to find ways to prevent and manage these fires.
Guterres also called for increased investment in fire prevention and management, and for the development of new technologies to help us better understand and respond to wildland fires. He said, “we must act now to protect our communities and our planet from the devastating effects of wildland fires.”