The European Union (EU) and Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) have a longstanding relationship based on common values and established on a legal framework with most of the 33 countries through association and trade agreements, and political and cooperation dialogues.

 

Both regions collaborate in numerous international fora to tackle global challenges, such as the United Nations (UN) in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development cooperation, or the fight against climate change through the Paris Agreement.

 

Regional Achievements

Collaboration on wildfire management between the EU and Latin America and the Caribbean region

Wildfires constitute a major threat in many LAC countries, as they cause large environmental and economic losses every year. The urge to address this global issue in an efficient way resides in the capacity to tackle it through instruments that improve international collaboration between countries, and this is a core element of the relationship between the EU and LAC in this project. Based on over 20 years of collaboration in the pan-European region, the project "Support to wildfire management in the Amazon and Latin America and Caribbean (LAC)" region aims at collaborating together with key stakeholders in LAC towards a strategic, targeted and comprehensive approach to manage wildfires in the region. This will be achived through the use of a common wildfire early warning and monitoring system, the GlWildfire Information System (GWIS), and the establishment of a LAC expert group on forest fires.​​

Convergent and harmonised data

Through the use of GWIS, the LAC countries have access to historical and near real-time information on wildfires at regional, country and subcountry level, facilitating the exchange of information and comparability of the fire situation in the different countries.

GWIS, which is a joint initiative of the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) and Copernicus – EU´s Earth observation programs, brings together existing information sources at a national and regional level to provide a comprehensive view and evaluate fire regimes and fire effects at a global scale.
GWIS compatibility with national LAC systems makes it a flexible and adaptable tool for concrete methodologies and needs. This system may constitute an essential tool for the LAC region to share harmonized data to support regional policies.

The LAC Expert Group on Forest Fires - supporting wildfire management in the region

Through sharing the experience in establishing a European Expert Group on Forest Fires (EGFF)  in Europe, Middle East and North Africa, which is currently made of 43 countries in the region,  the EU intends to collaborate with fire management experts in the LAC countries to support the establishment of a LAC Expert Group on Forest Fires (LAC EGFF). Similarly to the pan-European approach, the LAC EGFF will be composed of expert fire managers in the countries from the relevant Ministries and Agencies in the countries that are in charge of fire mangement in the different phases of the fire cycle, from prevention, preparedness, firefighting to restoration of areas damaged by forest fires. The role of the group will be that of providing advise, guidance and support to international collaboration and fire-related policy making in the region.

Fire Cycle
Fire circle

 

Exchange of knowledge

The LAC EGFF will facilitate the exchange of knowledge and best practices on wildfire management, which next to harmonized information provided by GWIS, could lead to strategic actions to minimize the impact of wildfires in the region.

The LAC EGFF will facilitate the transfer and exchange of essential information and knowledge on wildfire management for fire policies at a national and regional level.

In the pan-European region, the EU, through its Joint Research Centre (JRC) - a science and knowledge centre that provides scientific advice and supports EU policies-, has a wide long-term expertise on facing global challenges, such as wildfires. JRC, in collaboration with other services of the EU, developed the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS) and established an Expert Group on Forest Fires (EGFF), which are currently under the umbrella of Copernicus – EU´s Earth observation programme. EFFIS and EGFF are instruments to prevent and tackle wildfires from a regional perspective. These initiatives promote collaboration between countries on the basis of harmonised information collected in EFFIS and exchange of good practices through the EGFF.

In the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region, several international organizations work on the monitoring and management of the enviroment, such as the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and Environmental Program (UNEP). Additionally, other intergovernamental organizations aim at encouraging sustainable development and social inclusion in the region, such as the the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (ACTO) – which actively works on the conservation of renewable natural resources with the objective of contributing to sustainable development and life maintenance of a clean and healthy environment in the Amazon. In 2019, representatives from seven Amazon countries signed the Leticia Pact in 2019 which aims to protect the rainforest by expanding regional cooperation.

In the pan-European region, the EU, through its Joint Research Centre (JRC) - a science and knowledge centre that provides scientific advice and supports EU policies-, has a wide long-term expertise on facing global challenges, such as wildfires. JRC, in collaboration with other services of the EU, developed the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS) and established an Expert Group on Forest Fires (EGFF), which are currently under the umbrella of Copernicus – EU´s Earth observation programme. EFFIS and EGFF are instruments to prevent and tackle wildfires from a regional perspective. These initiatives promote collaboration between countries on the basis of harmonised information collected in EFFIS and exchange of good practices through the EGFF.

In the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region, several international organizations work on the monitoring and management of the enviroment, such as the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and Environmental Program (UNEP). Additionally, other intergovernamental organizations aim at encouraging sustainable development and social inclusion in the region, such as the the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (ACTO) – which actively works on the conservation of renewable natural resources with the objective of contributing to sustainable development and life maintenance of a clean and healthy environment in the Amazon. In 2019, representatives from seven Amazon countries signed the Leticia Pact in 2019 which aims to protect the rainforest by expanding regional cooperation.

EU Services

JRC (leading), EEAS (Americas Department), FPI, Directorate Generals: INTPA, ECHO, ENV, REGIO, CLIMA, DEFIS, and the EU Delegations in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Surinam, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela.

LAC governments and fire services

in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Surinam, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela (institutional bodies and agencies involved in wildfire management), including the member countries of the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (ACTO) and the Leticia Pact signatory countries. Other countries in LAC may join the activities in the project in the coming months.

International Organizations working on fire management in the region

supporting the Leticia Pact goals to "work towards the adoption of a Protocol for wildfires management in the Amazon": The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) and the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (ACTO).