September 16, 2019
 In 2021-Fire Prevention and Response

Country: Colombia
Delegate Name: Reese Bower

United Nations Development Program
Fire Prevention and Response
The Republic of Columbia
Reese Bower
Forest Hills Eastern

Recently, the occurrence of wildfires has exploded internationally. From raging fires in Australia to California, climate change and human carelessness have led to disasters. The effects of these fires range from the loss of human life to the destruction of important wilderness to the decrease of economies. In Colombia, this is especially important, as it houses both part of the Amazon rainforest and dry, flat stretches of land. Internationally, around 3% of total forest land is burned annually. The United Nations recognizes this as a problem, yet actions have yet to be taken. To solve this complicated problem, countries will have to provide solutions for many contributing issues, including climate change, sustainable farming, and management of these fires.

With both a large river ecosystem and multiple deserts, Colombia is a very biodiverse country. Additionally, Colombia is home to 10% of the Amazon rainforest, which in total houses 10% of the world’s biodiversity. Rainforests are not accustomed to fires and cannot handle them as well as other ecosystems, so it is crucial to protect Colombia and its bordering countries. According to Nasa, fires have burned almost 30,000 acres in Colombia in January alone. Controlled burning can be an asset for fire protection; however, tropical forests such as the Amazon are sensitive and would require careful management. Colombia has received aid from the United States in a program that provides supplies and skills needed to manage wildfires.

Colombia advises UNDP to implement a program similar to that of USAID, where the United States Forest Service is sharing expertise and resources with Colombia. This program has trained Colombian youth in sustainable ways of living, advanced scientific methods of understanding wildfires, and supported an integrated program for fire management. Carrying out this program at an international level would carry the aforementioned effects to all countries and would benefit small countries that lack the resources to address wildfire problems. Additionally, Colombia proposes adopting similar fire management policies to Venezuela, such as controlled patchwork burns and educating indigenous people about fire safety.

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