Draft SOP cross border fire management

Objective of SOP

The SADC Treaty, the SADC Protocol on Wildlife Conservation and Law Enforcement, the SADC Protocol on Forestry and the Forestry Strategy, have all clearly recognized the strategic and practical importance of multi-country efforts to boost intra-regional management of shared natural resources, and therefore form the basis for justification of establishing Standard Operating Procedures for fire management in TFCAs.

Furthermore, issues of crossborder fire management involve a minimum of two countries, and because a number of countries share borders with more than one country, the reduction of uncontrolled crossborder fires may be better handled by a TFCA, through Standard Operating Procedures to safeguard both individual country and collective regional interests, rather than countries operating unilaterally. Therefore, plans to cooperate in fire management across borders are very important, among others, to share fire information among countries.

The aim of the SADC Project Transboundary Use and Protection of Natural Resources (2012-2015) is to  strengthen the capacities of regional and national actors/stakeholders to implement SADC protocols, strategies and programmes/projects related to transboundary natural resources management and conservation (in Transfrontier Conservation Areas (TFCAs).

Among others, the Project is implementing the capacity building component of the SADC Fire Management Programme; and its activities include supporting crossborder fire management projects in the following TFCAs:

  1. Nyika TFCA. Zambia and Malawi,
  2. Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Park (GLTP). South Africa and Mozambique,
  3. Lubombo TFCA. South Africa and Swaziland
  4. Kavango-Zambezi (KAZA) TFCA. Angola and Namibia

In addition, to the above fire projects the TUPNR Project intends to promote the development and operationalization of TFCA-Level Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for cross-border fire management by Park Managers and their Fire Managers to facilitate effective combating of crossborder fires. It is against this background that a meeting was organized on 1 December 2014 in Gaborone Botswana. The purpose of the meeting was to bring together representatives of the abovementioned four TFCAs to discuss and initiate a process of developing SOPs. The meeting developed an outline / template for an SOP.

The purpose of the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) is to establish uniform procedures/practices with regard to facilitating crossborder fire management between two countries in a TFCA.  The SOP will aid countries in agreeing on collaboration on fire management with regard to:

  • Governance issues: covering, Joint Management Committee; Joint Technical Fire Management Committee; Collaboration of relevant stakeholders; Community engagement; and Communication and Information exchange.
  • Common Procedures for Fire preparedness including Risk assessment; Fire prevention including Early burning; and Fire-fighting /suppression.
  • Capacity development covering Training and skills development; Awareness and sensitization; Equipment; and Technology.

 The aim of the SOP is to contribute to the implementation of the SADC Fire Management Programme through collaboration of any two SADC Member States in a TFCA to combat transboundary fires in order to minimize the destruction of forest resources and associated forest biodiversity for the benefit of the respective countries and the region.

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