Binational coordination meeting for the prevention and control of forest fires

In order to coordinate joint actions for the prevention and control of forest fires in the border area between Guatemala and Belize, a meeting was held on May 3, 2018 at the offices of the Organization of American States (OAS). From Guatemala, the event was attended by representatives of government institutions (National Council of Protected Areas, National Forest Institute, National Commission for Disaster Reduction and Directorate for the Protection of Natural Resources of the National Civil Police) and civil society (Sociedad Impulsores Suchitecos, Asociación el Esfuerzo and municipality of Melchor de Mencos). From Belize the Deputy Director as well as the Forest Fire Officer from the Forest Department were present along with members of the Mennonite community of Spanish Lookout. Additionally, the coordinators of the Guatemala and Belize components of the Project for the Sustainable Use of the Selva Maya / GIZ participated.

During the meeting, the threats and risks represented by the use of fire in agricultural activities by farmers located in this area, which may culminate in the occurrence of forest fires, were discussed.

The agreement of the meeting is to elaborate a binational forest fire prevention and control plan, including chapters that define the levels of coordination and complementary activities to be carried out in each country and promote the exchange of information and experiences in both countries. In the medium term, a series of coordination meetings is planned to follow up on the implementation.