The Regional Fire Management Resource Center – Southeast Asia (RFMRC-SEA), functions as an independent regional center of competency and excellence for fire management and operates at the interface between science and informed policy development (Science-Policy Interface – SPI). The RFMRC-SEA was established by the Faculty of Forestry Sciences, University of Bogor Indonesia, with the assistance of the Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC). These two institutions have been working together in fire science and fire management since the mid-1990s at the bilateral level as well as within international projects. Prof. Dr. Ir. Bambang Hero Saharjo, MSc. has been serving as coordinator of the UNISDR Regional Southeast Asia Wildland Fire Network since 2011, and which is one of 14 regional networks of the Global Wildland Fire Network. Professor Saharjo is overseeing the Center’s activities. The Center is successively building the following capacities:
- Development of an internet-based information portal, which will include the science of vegetation fires and related scientific disciplines;
- Development of a web-based documentation and information portal on the practices that are prerequisite for the application of scientific principles in informed fire management;
- Creation of an interface and promotion of the dialogue between services of specialized governmental institutions and civil society organizations;
- Provision of advisory service for sustainable forestry & land management and relevant policies;
- Promotion of regional cooperation through networks, notably within the UNISDR Regional Southeast Asia Wildland Fire Network under the Global Wildland Fire Network; and Training and continuing vocational training in fire management (main task: Information, training, training and education and the promotion of human resources and institutional capacities).
The overall aim of the Center, which through its affiliation with Bogor Agricultural University will be an independent, academic entity, is to contribute to informed political decision making and the development of relevant policies for Indonesia and the neighboring countries of the Maritime Continent. The structure of a regional competence center for fire management is a measure of the decentralization of the work of the GFMC, which was established in 1998. The work of the GFMC has been decentralizing into the regions through the establishment of Regional Fire Monitoring Centers or Regional Fire Management Resource Centers. The establishment of this Center follows the experiences of three others established in universities and led by forest fire scientists. Three prior Centers are already operating for:
- Southeast Europe / South Caucasus based in Skopje, FYR Macedonia (est. 2010),
- Eastern Europe based in Kiev, Ukraine (est. 2013); and for
- Central Asia based in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia (est. 2015).
The experience gained in Indonesia / SE Asia will assist in building the 5th and 6th Regional Centers for Central Eurasia based in Krasnoyarsk, Russia, and for South America (t.b.d.).