Participatory and Intercultural Fire Management Network

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First meeting report – Integrating Indigenous fire practices within government fire management policy

This report (available in English, Spanish and Portuguese) provides information of the activities that have been carried out during the first meeting of the “Participatory and Intercultural Fire Management Network” with regards to Indigenous fire management with researchers, government authorities and Indigenous representatives (60 participants in total) currently working on Indigenous fire management in Venezuela, Brazil, Guyana and the UK – this workshop took place over four days in July 2015 at the Parupa Scientific Station, Canaima National Park, Venezuela.

carmelo-BandW-logoThe “Participatory and Intercultural Fire Management Network” meeting in Scientific Station Parupa, CVG (Venezuelan Corporation of Guayana), Gran Sabana, Canaima National Park, Venezuela, was the first meeting of a project funded by the British Academy (UK research organisation) with the objective to:

“develop a ‘case’ for integrating Indigenous fire practices within government fire management policy”.

The project arises from a collaboration between Dr Jay Mistry of Royal Holloway University of London, UK, and Dr Bibiana Bilbao, Universidad Simón Bolívar, Venezuela, who have considerable experience of working with Indigenous communities in Brazil, Guyana and Venezuela, particularly on the topic of fire management.

This First meeting of the “Participatory and Intercultural Fire Management Network” joined together 60 participants belonging to more than 25 Government and academic institutions and Indigenous communities from Venezuela, Brazil, Guyana. The presentations and discussion took place in three official languages (Spanish, Portuguese and English) from the representatives of the countries participants, and several indigenous languages like Pemón, Macuxi, Wapichana, between others. However, the differences of languages was not seen as a barrier, and the organisers of the meeting with the help of the participants did translations in order the debates and presentations were readily understood by all.

All the participants were very proud of the harmonious climate and constructive cooperation that reigned during these 4 days of meeting, where the local efforts for integrating Indigenous fire knowledge and government fire management practices reached unprecedented and significant agreements.

We appreciate the support and active engagement of all the participants and specially to the members of Kavanayén community, members of the staff of Scientific Station Parupa (CVG), Comandancia Bomberos Forestales (Forest Fire Command), INPARQUES, Venezuela, for their warm welcome and invaluable support for the realization of this important meeting.

Follow Bibiana Bilbao:
Bibiana Bilbao is Professor at the Department of Environmental Studies, Universidad Simón Bolívar, Venezuela. Her research is on tropical savannas, fire ecology, biogeochemical cycles and vegetation change. She has also a long professional experience working on ecological and human dimensions of fire management with Indigenous communities in tropical ecosystems of Venezuela, particularly the Pemón of the Canaima National Park. She is willing to further the development of more effective, socially just and culturally sensitive policies for intercultural and participatory governance of Integrated Fire Management (MIF) in Venezuela, Brazil and other countries of South America such as Bolivia and Argentina.