The initial meeting of the Western Balkan LFM Regional Network Enhances Landscape Fire Management Efforts


The Initial Landscape Fire Management (LFM) regional workshop took place on May 19th, 2023 in Porto, Portugal marking the beginning of the Western Balkan LFM Regional Network’s collaborative journey. Held as part of the Landscape Fire Management in the Western Balkans (LFMWB) Programme, the workshop, organized by the Regional Fire Monitoring Center (RFMC) in collaboration with the Regional Executive Agency (REA-Farmahem), aimed to introduce the network’s role, facilitate the preparation of a strategic network coordination manual, and provide feedback on the initial drafts of the Country reports.

Dedicated to enhancing landscape fire management practices in the Western Balkans, the meeting gathered the Country Project Staff and the Country Focal Points from each country in the Western Balkans. Their primary objective was to define and clarify the roles and responsibilities of the Western Balkans LFM Regional Network and its members, ultimately increasing the network’s effectiveness and impact.

During the opening speech, Mr. Pierre-André Cordey, Programme Manager of SDC Climate, DRR, and Environment, emphasized the alignment of the LFMWB Programme with the principles of good governance in landscape fire management at the global level based on the attendance at the 8th International Wildland Fire Conference (IWFC) in Porto, Portugal.

Mr. Cvetan Nikolovski, the Team Leader of the LFMWB Programme, emphasized the vital need for regional cooperation in effectively addressing landscape fire risks and building landscape fire resilience. He underlined the LFMWB Programme’s mission to foster substantial and lasting collaboration across the Western Balkans.

Ms. Jelena Markovic, the representative of the Bern University of Applied Sciences (HAFL-BFH), skillfully moderated the opening session, providing the participants with an opportunity to exchange valuable insights and lessons learned from their attendance at the IWFC in Porto. The session fostered a culture of knowledge-sharing and collaboration among the attendees.

Moreover, Mr. Nikola Nikolov, the Head of RFMC, elaborated on the role of the Western Balkans LFM regional network and its members. He provided invaluable feedback and recommendations on the initial drafts of the Country reports, ensuring their accuracy and relevance to the LFMWB Programme objectives.

The meeting continued with a presentation from Ms. Marija Sterjovska, Project Officer of the LFMWB Programme who introduced the process of preparing a manual for strategic network coordination. This manual will serve as a valuable resource for streamlining coordination efforts within the network, promoting efficient and effective collaboration among stakeholders.

The workshop witnessed active participation from 17 dedicated individuals who collectively emphasized the importance of cross-sectoral regional collaboration and the alignment of roles in Landscape Fire Management in Western Balkans. They highlighted the significance of focusing on prevention and preparedness and stressed the need for a cohesive LFM system at the regional level. The members expressed their commitment to continued work and the establishment of a fully operational regional LFM network, contributing to the creation of fire-resilient landscapes.

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