Archive for October 10, 2011


October 10, 2011


Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Gracious day from the Pearl of the Orient!

In case that many of us may not be aware of it, the Food & Agricultural Organization or FAO has a bureau that addresses forest management concerns worldwide. Needless to say, the FAO has been at the forefront of ceasing forest fires where it is invited to do so (the hubris and arrogance of powerful Northern countries are blockages to allowing international organizations’ entry during calamities).

As a matter of addressing forest management concerns, from production to maintenance inclusive of forest fires, the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF) was created, with no less than 14 international organizations and secretariats co-partnering. Better landscape management has been among the key strategies identified to address forest fires, which UN member nations better consider strongly.

Below is the update reportage about the subject.

[Philippines, 11 October 2011]


Better landscape management needed to prevent forest fires / Fire management will require increased investment

9 September 2011, Rome – Countries need to pay more attention to fire management on lands bordering forests in order to prevent the 95 percent of wildfires that originate from human activities in forests and adjacent areas, an international partnership for forests warned today.

The Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF), which consists of 14 international organizations and secretariats, issued its warning as many countries are experiencing an increasing incidence in the frequency and size of wildfires due to lack of fire management policies and impacts of climate change.

“In many cases the fire starts on agricultural or pasture lands and spreads quickly on nearby forests,” said Pieter van Lierop, an FAO expert on forest fire management. “When people continue to burn rubbish and agricultural waste, clear lands by burning vegetation for agricultural or development purposes, or burn pastures to allow grass to sustain its high productivity, there is always a danger of large-scale vegetation and forest fires particularly under dry and hot weather conditions,” he added. “There are practical things that can be done to reduce the risks of fire escaping from agricultural areas.

Integrated landscape management approach to prevent fires

It is vital to think about fire prevention and suitable use of fire not only in forests but also through other parts of a landscape, in particular land in the vicinity of forests. For example, people should try to avoid establishing large homogeneous forest areas in regions with fire-prone vegetation, which usually exacerbate fires, and instead maintain mosaic landscapes with natural firebreaks provided by combining different land-uses.

Burning agricultural waste early in the dry season before the surrounding landscape gets too dry and avoiding burning during high winds will help avoid big wildfires.

Activities on lands on or around peat soils require control. For example, mega-fires in the Russian Federation last year damaged more than 14 million hectares, killed more than 50 people and became almost uncontrollable mainly because nearby peat lands had been drained for irrigation of adjacent agriculture lands. This in turn affected the neighboring forests, which also became drier. Experience has shown dried peat land fires to be nearly impossible to extinguish.

More funds needed for fire management

CPF stressed that frequency and intensity of forest fires could be reduced by including fire management in broader landscape management strategies and through more integrated approaches to fire management — this includes not only fire suppression but also fire prevention, controlled burning, early warning and preparedness. All require increased investment.

“As most fires are started by people, countries should invest more in integrated fire- management strategies, especially in the often overlooked area of prevention,” said van Lierop. “Local communities should be trained on how to prevent vegetation fires throughout the whole year and not only during the fire season. More attention should also be given to monitoring wildfire carbon gas emissions as a potential contributor to climate change.”

Countries should also invest in research on the social and economic drivers of fire to be able to improve the way they are addressing the underlying causes of fires. Ongoing research at CIFOR is showing that the preconceived notions of why and how fires start are not always right and at best managers only generally understand a part of the picture.

FAO is now forming a multidonor trust fund programme to raise funding to respond better to member countries’ demands. It is expected to be finalized by November this year.

The International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) published guidelines on fire management in tropical forests in 1997 that provide a basis on which policy-makers and managers at various levels can develop programs and projects to address specific national, socioeconomic and natural problems related to fire in natural and planted tropical forests.

ITTO’s Executive Director Emmanuel Ze Meka endorsed the proposed multi-donor trust fund to be established by FAO to assist countries to deal with forest fires, noting that “We have the knowledge and policies in place to reduce the damage from fire in tropical forests – the main missing link is sufficient funding for training, equipment and monitoring technologies to be able to effectively implement such policies.”

Related links
Collaborative Parneship on Forests (CPF)
Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR)
The International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO)
FAO’s Forestry Department
Irina Utkina
Media Relations (Rome)
(+39) 06 570 52542


October 10, 2011


Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Governance reforms in the Dominican Republic have included strengthening institutional capacity to deal with problems of children and adolescents. The country’s National Council for Children and Adolescents (CONANI) is the lead agency created for the task.

The CONANI had so far been operating on an expanded mandate so as to cover problems related to human traffick. In this regard, the International Organization for Migration or IOM has been co-partnering with the CONANI’s efforts, with commitments going up through the sheltering of child victims of human traffick.

Below is an update report about the subject that makes the country a showcase in sheltering affected children.

[Philippines, 11 October 2011]


Improving Shelters for Child Victims of Trafficking in the Dominican Republic

Posted on Friday, 16-09-2011

Dominican Republic – This week IOM completed its Children’s Shelter Improvement Plan in coordination with the Dominican National Council for Children and Adolescents (CONANI) as part of its programme to build the capacity of the Dominican authorities to manage cases of child victims of trafficking.
Four temporary shelters managed by CONANI have received structural improvements and material necessities in order to improve the conditions of vulnerable children in need of protection, including Dominican children, unaccompanied minor migrants and victims of trafficking, under the care of the Dominican child protection authorities.
Structural improvements to the physical structures of the four shelters included replacing broken doors and windows, painting walls, building walls to increase privacy, and paving outdoor patio play-spaces.
Based on the needs of each facility, IOM has furnished the shelters with games, books, and other educational materials, as well as a range of appliances including fans, water coolers, washing machines, lockers, and lawn mowers.
“IOM works closely with CONANI in the search for durable solutions for child victims of trafficking and unaccompanied minor migrants. Improvements to these shelters will help CONANI to provide enhanced care to child victims of trafficking that end up in the protection of the State. Other vulnerable children found in these facilities will also benefit,” explains Cy Winter, IOM Chief of Mission in Santo Domingo.
These physical and material improvements have been carried out in conjunction with a series of trainings for the staff of five of CONANI’s temporary shelters on how to identify signs that a child has been a victim of human trafficking, as well as how to provide specialized attention to child victims. The staff training complements an awareness campaign carried out with more than 300 members of the child protection system via 11 workshops held in late 2010.
Since the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti, IOM has also formed part of the inter-agency CONANI Technical Assistance Committee seeking solutions for the unaccompanied minors under CONANI protection as a result of being displaced by the earthquake.
There are currently 234 children in the care of CONANI’s temporary shelters; 45 are Haitian nationals.
In 2011 IOM has worked with the child protection authorities in the Dominican Republic and CONANI and with Haiti’s Institute for Social Well-Being and Research (IBESR) to provide family tracing, return and reintegration assistance to 23 Haitian child victims of trafficking, including a large group of children trafficked for forced begging rescued by the Dominican General Directorate of Migration in a February 2011 raid.
As part of IOM’s continued cooperation with the child protection authorities in both countries, IOM organized a bi-national meeting in May 2011 aimed at improving dialogue on short-term care and long-term solutions for unaccompanied minor migrants and child victims of trafficking. A follow up visit by staff of IBESR to CONANI is planned for October.
IOM’s work to improve the conditions of child migrants and child victims of trafficking in the Dominican Republic is made possible through support from the United States Department of State, Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM) and the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (GTIP), and the United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office in Santo Domingo.
For more information, please contact:
Gina Gallardo
Zoë Stopak-Behr
IOM Santo Domingo
Tel: 809 688 8174