July 14, 2023 – In a notable step forward, AFoCO and Vietnam National University of Forest (VNUF) have joined hands to address the critical issue of forest fires. The partnership commenced with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), marking the initiation of the Mekong-Korea Cooperation Fund (MKCF) project led by AFoCO. This project, known as “ICT Adaptation to Climate Change and Forest Fire Management in the Mekong Region (AFoCO/037/2023),” aims to employ innovative ICT solutions for effective forest fire management.
The MOU signing ceremony was graced by Mr. Pham Van Dien, President of VNUF, Mr. Phung Van Khoa, Vice President of VNUF, Mr. Luu Tien Dat, National Focal Point and other professors and professionals from VNUF. From the AFoCO Side, Mr. Sunpil Jin, Vice Executive Director, and Dr. Junghwan Park, Senior Project Manager, and Ms. YoungJu Han, Project Management Coordinator.
Leveraging Technology for Environmental Protection
The Project represents a forward-looking initiative that seeks to harness the power of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to combat forest fires in Vietnam and Cambodia. Central to this project is the utilization of a Geographic Information System (GIS)-based platform, enabling the simulation and prediction of fire-prone regions, thereby facilitating timely interventions and real-time responses.
This initiative builds upon the expertise of the Republic of Korea’s data-driven forest fire management technology, thoughtfully adapting it to the unique needs of Vietnam and Cambodia. Beyond the technological aspects, the project includes awareness campaigns, collaborative efforts, and capacity-building measures to empower governments and local communities in addressing forest fires through the ICT-based Forest Fire Management (FFM) protocol.
The project is set to achieve a range of objectives, including:
- Showcasing ICT-Based Forest Fire Management: Demonstrating the capabilities of an ICT-based forest fire management system in Cambodia and Vietnam.
- Enhancing In-Country Capabilities: Elevating the competence of government agencies and stakeholders in using the ICT-based FFM system and creating a comprehensive rollout plan.
- Promoting International Cooperation: Fostering collaboration on forest fire management and related threats in the Mekong region.
The project is expected to yield several key outcomes, including reports enriched with GIS maps that assess forest fire vulnerability. The incorporation of ICT with accessible devices like smartphones, along with strategies for integrating ICT methods in solving forest fire issues, is on the horizon. The project also aims to enhance capabilities for timely forest fire detection, monitoring, reporting, and response, in addition to establishing policies and protocols for in-country ICT deployment for Forest Fire Management.
Addressing Forest Fire Challenges
Forest fires have posed significant threats to ecosystems, biodiversity, and communities in the Mekong region. This collaborative project promises to provide robust solutions that preserve invaluable forest resources. The lessons learned will be shared with other Mekong and AFoCO member countries, offering innovative approaches to forest fire management.
In conclusion, this project reflects the importance of the collaboration between Vietnam and AFoCO in addressing this pressing environmental challenge. The MOU signifies the commencement of a transformative journey toward enhanced forest fire management in the Mekong region, with technology and international cooperation at its core.
Contributed by Ms. YoungJu HAN, Project Management Coordinator