Experts Consultation Meeting on Wildfire Early Warning and Detection Systems
Le Meriden, Lattakia - Syria
15 - 17 July 2007
Out of the
total land area of Syria which is estimated at 18,517,900 ha, agricultural
land is just over 6,000,000 ha, rangeland represents about 45%, and about
461,000 ha representing around 2.5% are considered as forests land.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Agrarian Reforms (MAAR),
Forestry Directorate’s (FD) statistics, around 264,000 ha of the total
forest area is human-made.
In-spite of their limited
area, the forest resources in Syria are vital to land and water resources
sustainable management, environmental balance and therefore to the
socio-economic development of the country.
Generally speaking, with its
special topographic, climatic and socio-economic conditions, Syria is
ecologically sensitive and could be considered as environmentally fragile.
For many reasons, including human and natural causes, over the last 15
years, the number of incidents of wildfires (Forest and Olive plantations
fires) has continued to increase. The Forestry Directorate records showed
that forest fires increased from 57 incidents in 1990 to over 300 in 2006.
The increasing number of fire incidents and magnitude of wildfires in the
coastal region is disturbing the ecosystem, causing serious local and
economic losses and putts human and natural resources at risk. Such
situation created an environment within which the sustainable management of
land resources and consequently the sustained livelihood of rural population
in the Coastal region of Syria are negatively affected by wildfires and
Although the damage in many
of the incidents was curtailed by the fire force, the continuously
increasing number of incidents is expected to outweigh the risk management
capacity and capability of government and its efforts including
establishment and equipping of Fire Protection, construction of watch tower
network, and increase in fire crews.
The MAAR is currently
involved in different efforts to address situation. Efforts in this respect
included the construction of a number of Forest Fire Protection Centers,
Fire watch Towers, supply of equipment and tools, assignment of forest
patrol and fire crews. With the assistance of an FAO/Italy supported Project
on Integrated Forest Fires Management, the Government is working on capacity
building, community involvement, and institutional issues. The Project
conduct a number of studies and reviewed current situation of forest fires
in the country, initiated community mobilization and involvement, prepared
the First National IFFM Strategy, first IFFM five-year Plan (National Plan
2006 – 2010), initiated the process for training of forestry personnel and
assisted the organization of two national awareness campaigns.
On the other hand the issues
of early detection and early warning which were identified by the IFFM
Project and the Government as week areas in the overall risk management and
disaster reduction strategy. Late detection during dry, hot, and windy
condition within the forest areas and the vegetation types that dominate
coastal governorates usually lead to serious situations and disasters.
Accordingly, the Government
identified the serious need for the establishment of early detection and
early warning systems. The MAAR considers this aspect as an urgent need that
requires special development efforts.
Since there may be different
technical options, strategies, approaches and possibilities for both systems
(Early Warning and Early Detection), the MAAR suggested further
investigation on this subject, especially with regards to alternatives and
options. To do so, the MAAR suggested the organization of “Expert’s
Consultative Meeting on Wildfire Early Warning and Detection System” in
Objective of the meeting:
“Expert’s Consultative Meeting on Wildfire Early Warning and Detection
System” aims at studying the Syrian wildfire conditions, scrutinizing
current technical and methodological approaches, technologies and
accordingly assess possibilities and suggest options and alternatives
appropriate for the Syrian conditions. The assistance will also help
creating better understanding of risk management and disaster reduction
issues, strategies and tools.
The meeting will therefore:
- Discuss different
alternative and possibilities, including suggested options, approaches,
and technological packages, based on the national context.
- Suggest an action plan
for further actions and is to recommend opportunities for international
and regional support.
risk management and disaster mitigation international, regional and national
specialists and experts and specially those working in the field of early
warning and fire detection systems development and implementation are
expected to attend the meeting. Around 20 – 25 experts representing UN
agencies, international private firms, regional government agencies and NGOs
and Syrian Government.
meeting will take place at Le Meridien Hotel, Lattakia Governorate.
Organizers and partners:
is organized by the Ministry of Agriculture and Agrarian Reforms in
partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Syria.
Meeting Agenda Last Updated
Registration Form (english)
Registration Form (Arabic)