Country: Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Delegate Name: Akshat Jain
Country: St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Committee: UN Development Program (UNDP)
Topic: Fire Prevention and Response
Delegate: Akshat Jain
School: Forest Hills Northern High School
Wildfires, and actions to stop/prevent them are major issues in today’s society. 90% of wildfires are caused by humans. In addition, worldwide, wildfires are responsible for higher than 33,000 deaths each year. From the West Coast of the United States, all the way across the globe to Australia, the occurrence of wildfires have increased rapidly. To put the size of these fires into perspective, the yearly fires are about half the size of the US, larger than the area of India, and about 4 times the size of Nigeria. According to the Center for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters, at least 470 wildfire disasters – incidents that claimed 10 or more deaths or affected 100 or more people – have been reported globally, causing at least $120 billion in damages. In addition, climate change is producing droughts and heatwaves, which, in turn, creates dry vegetation that fuels large fires. St. Vincent and the Grenadines urges the UN to increase firefighting reservoirs, produce more infrastructure, machinery, and equipment, as well as put more attention on the issue of climate change, because if climate change persists, then wildfires will as well.
Being an island nation, St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) is quite small. Because of this, any fire could completely decimate SVG, and the development of SVG. With an international airport to enhance tourism, the need for a well integrated fire and emergency relief system is of paramount concern. St. Vincent and the Grenadines has suffered many devastating fires such as the destruction of a school building. More recently, census records housed in the main government building were also lost due to a fire. Although St. Vincent and the Grenadines was able to make a partnership with Martha’s Vineyard (MV) (an island in Massachusetts) with a focus on firefighting and prevention, ultimately, the partnership focused far more on exchanges in education, fisheries, artisan development and tourism development. However, the issue of a large occurrence of wildfires is very trivial in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The issue of paramount importance is the response to these fires, as SVG does not have sufficient resources to combat and respond to fires when they occur. St. Vincent and the Grenadines urges the UNDP to aid with resources to help bolster and ameliorate the firefighting and prevention.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines requests the UNDP to implement a program similar to that of USAID (a program that assists with civilian foreign aid and development assistance). SVG believes that a program similar to USAID will help lead development, not just with SVG, but also with other countries in need of assistance, like Mexico and Australia. St. Vincent and the Grenadines advises that if such a program is implemented, then awareness be raised, an increase in spending, and more resources available to the countries. Additionally, SVG proposes a refocus on land use policies and incentives for better land-use planning and management and strengthen stakeholder coordination and preparedness. St. Vincent and the Grenadines believes that with all of this together, a better future will be guaranteed.
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Wildfires: Interesting Facts and F.A.Q.