Further progress needed to achieve fire resilience, say european policymakers at FIRE-RES event

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FIRE-RES held the Policy Event “Towards a fire resilient Europe: can we do better?” in  Brussels on 24 October 2023 at the European Parliament. The event was co-organised by Euromontana and CTFC and co-hosted by MEPs Ulrike Müller (Renew Europe) and Jordi Solé (The Greens/EFA). The session included interventions from: Martí Rosell Ibarz (CFRS), Antoni Trasobares (CTFC), Hanna Jahns (European Commission’s DG ECHO), Eduard Plana (CTFC), Cecilia Fraccaroli (EFI), Nicolas Faivre (EREA) and MEP Anna Deparnay-Grunenberg (The Greens/EFA).

Around 40 participants, including policymakers, regional representatives, scientists, environmental organisations, and industry representatives gathered to discuss how the European Union can improve its resilience to forest fires.

new paradigms, integrated wildfire management, policy coherence

A complementarity of perspectives orchestrated the session. Experiences from the field, voices of scientific expertise and insights from the FIRE-RES project highlighted:

  • A new firefighting paradigm is emerging, abandoning the suppression approach to move towards integrated fire management.
  • Forest landscape management needs to embrace resilience in a holistic and ambitious way.
  • Wildfire management demands policy coherence: to achieve policy objectives, the different sectors and policies should systematically align, reducing conflicts and promoting synergies. For example, it is necessary to reduce the silo effect on policies relating to agriculture, the environment, urban planning and adapting to climate change to ensure greater consistency in fire risk management.

the way forward: the role of eu

The presentations and panel discussion were also a great opportunity to learn more about the EU and its challenges.

  • The EU is already taking action against forest fires through equipment, investment and policy, but more needs to be done to achieve resilience.
  • The EU’s focus on prevention and preparedness resulted in a Wildfire Prevention Action Plan which includes a Peer review programme and a guide to best practices in awareness raising.
  • EU investments in forest-related research & innovation projects addressed the need for better scientific knowledge. A report was produced from the conclusions of such projects, encouraging dialogue between science, management and policy actors about Integrated Fire Management with a portfolio of solutions to prevent and combat forest fires.
  • Collaboration between EU policymakers and research actors has to be reinforced as research outcomes can be taken up in many possible ways.

You can find the speakers’ presentations here and read the full event report here.