- New network launched at a reception attended by His Majesty King Charles III, ahead of COP28 in Dubai, UAE.
- Joint initiative between the Circular Bioeconomy Alliance and the Commonwealth Secretariat brings together indigenous and scientific knowledge on wildfires to create resilient landscapes.
- Planned initiatives include action on the ground via Living Labs, and the development of innovative financial tools with the finance industry.
The Wildfire-Resilient Landscapes Network was launched at a reception attended by His Majesty King Charles III, on 30 November ahead of the start of COP28, in Dubai.
The network brings together indigenous and scientific knowledge to develop Living Labs that demonstrate how to create resilient landscapes to deal with the increasing problem of wildfires in fire-prone areas of the world. The initiative will work with the finance industry to develop innovative financial tools (for example around emerging Nature markets) that can generate the necessary investments to support the transition to resilient landscapes. The founding of the network was inspired by The King’s interest in linking Australia’s indigenous fire experts with Canadian experts to share best practices following Canada’s horrific fire season.
Marc Palahí, CEO Circular Bioeconomy Alliance, Baroness Scotland, Commonwealth Secretary-General and Dame Amelia Chilcott Fawcett, Chair Circular Bioeconomy Alliance meet His Majesty King Charles III.
Climate change is resulting in unprecedented wildfires, as fire suppression has reached its limits. The world is witnessing escalating human casualties and serious health impacts, as well as huge economic losses, increased greenhouse gas emissions, and catastrophic loss of the natural world. This summer we witnessed extreme wildfire events, with Canada now experiencing its most severe wildfire season on record. More than 18.5 million hectares of land has been burned (as of 2nd October) and this has resulted in emissions of more than 2.2 billion tons of CO2 eq, likely tripling the annual greenhouse emissions of Canada’s entire economy.
Innovative financial tools are also needed to play a catalytic role. Currently, the costs related to wildfire prevention and landscape management comes from public subsidies, which is insufficient to deal with the scale of the problem faced globally. Private-public partnerships and private finance are crucial for deploying investments at scale to harness new technologies and create a new model for designing resistant and resilient landscapes. In this context, carbon and possibly also the future biodiversity markets provide an interesting opportunity for private finance.
The savanna fire management programme across northern Australia is a good example of how indigenous knowledge can be the basis for new financial tools that generate income for Indigenous Communities, while supporting resilient landscapes through carbon markets. The network will build upon the work of the International Savanna Fire Management Initiative, which has developed leading technologies based on traditional fire management (TFM) approaches deployed in the management of land for generations, while generating carbon credits. The application of TFM has delivered substantial additional benefits including creating market-based jobs in remote and vulnerable communities, and improving biodiversity, food security and health.
The new Network will be established under the Circular Bioeconomy Alliance together with the Commonwealth Secretariat. It will be coordinated through partnerships with the ISFMI, which will contribute unique indigenous knowledge and experience in wildfire risk management, and FIRE-RES, who will bring their scientific knowledge to bear.
PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo
Commonwealth Secretary-General, the Rt Hon Patricia Scotland KC said: “The Commonwealth looks forward to contributing to this timely collaboration on wildfire resilience. Our climate work is rooted in knowledge sharing – from helping vulnerable countries unlock critical access to climate finance to climate-related capacity development and the promotion of climate-resilient and sustainable land management.”
Marc Palahí, CEO of the Circular Bioeconomy Alliance, said: “We are honoured to host this network which will build on the success of our Living Labs and connect the dots between science, indigenous knowledge and the financial sector to enable a holistic approach to creating wildfire-resilient landscapes. As leaders gather to agree climate action at COP28, the start of this collaborative endeavour will facilitate vital progress on the ground that works to embed resilience, while contributing to nature protection as well as climate adaptation and mitigation efforts.”
Cissy Gore-Birch, on the Advisory Committee of the ISFMI, said: “Reigniting Indigenous fire management practices is an opportunity to share our knowledge with the world, to secure all of our futures and bring us together.”
Antoni Trasobares, Coordinator of FIRE-RES, said: “Fire suppression has reached its limit. We need to invest in science and indigenous-informed actions to transition to wildfire resilient landscapes.”
Notes to Editors
Photographs from the reception attended by His Majesty The King will be available from Press Association and Getty Images. Broadcast footage will be available via the UK broadcasters’ Royal Rota system.
About the CBA
The Circular Bioeconomy Alliance initiative was established in 2020 by His Majesty King Charles III, when Prince of Wales. The CBA provides funding, expertise, and know how to facilitate projects designed to accelerate the transition to a circular bioeconomy that is climate neutral, inclusive and prospers in harmony with nature.
The International Savanna Fire Management Initiative (ISFMI) is a charity working in partnership with Indigenous peoples, local communities, research institutes and governments, revitalising indigenous fire management and fire management techniques around the world based on the Australian experience.
FIRE-RES is an international research and innovation project that works towards developing holistic and integrated fire management strategies to efficiently and effectively address the problem of Extreme Wildfires. The FIRE-RES consortium is formed by researchers, emergency-response bodies, technological companies, industry and civil society from 13 countries, linking to broader networks in science and disaster reduction management. The Forest Science and Technology Centre of Catalonia, Spain, coordinates the FIRE-RES project, which is funded under the European Union’s H2020 research and innovation programme.
About the Commonwealth
The Commonwealth is a voluntary association of 56 countries and home to 2.5 million people, including advanced economies and developing countries. Our experts provide technical support to vulnerable member countries and facilitate knowledge-sharing about solutions to some of the world’s most pressing issues. We help countries tackle climate change and adapt to its worst impacts, by unlocking access to climate finance. Our Living Lands Charter seeks to address challenges such as climate change, biodiversity loss and land degradation or desertification, through concerted, coordinated, and integrated action.