APRIL and other members form Fire-Free Alliance to combat land and forest fires in Indonesia

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APRIL and other members form Fire-Free Alliance to combat land and forest fires in Indonesia

March 10, 2016 - 20:03
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JAKARTA, Indonesia, March 11, 2016 (Press Release) -A group of leading forestry and agriculture companies, NGOs and other partners today announced the formation of the Fire-Free Alliance (FFA), a voluntary, multi-stakeholder platform to aid in the solution to land and forest fires in Indonesia.

Founding members include APRIL Group, Asian Agri, IDH, Musim Mas, PM.Haze, Rumah Pohon and Wilmar. Members have jointly committed to collaborate and share knowledge, information and potentially, resources to roll out fire prevention initiatives based on APRIL Group’s Fire Free Village Programme (FFVP), and also to enhance fire monitoring, detection and suppression.

Launched in 2015, the community-focused FFVP is a multi-prong fire prevention initiative that seeks to educate, enable and empower villagers against the use of fire for agricultural purposes. Based on APRIL Group's results, it achieved a 90 per cent decline in fire incidence among participating villages, during what is considered the worst possible El Nino episode in Indonesia, compared to 2014.

FFA members will adopt and implement the FFVP, sharing lessons and best practices on how partnerships and engagement with the communities can protect forests from the high risk of fires. NGOs and other partners will contribute towards facilitation to a wider group of companies, research capability and where the expertise is available, review fire management strategies and practices of FFA members. The FFA’s commitment supports the Indonesian Government’s commitment to a Haze Free ASEAN by 2020.

“The FFA demonstrates how the private sector in partnership with civil society groups can advance the fire-free cause through voluntary action,” said Lucita Jasmin, APRIL’s Director for Sustainability & External Affairs. “Collaboration under the FFA umbrella will help expand a successful fire prevention strategy to the broader landscape.”

“We believe the FFA will be a valuable platform to exchange Good Practices and enhance Musim Mas’ existing firefighting plans,” said Dr Petra Meekers, Director of Sustainable Development, Musim Mas.

About the Fire Free Alliance (FFA)

The FFA was formed in February 2016 and is a voluntary, multi-stakeholder platform comprising forestry and agriculture companies, NGOs and other concerned partners keen to contribute to a solution to Indonesia’s persistent fire and haze problems arising from land burning. Founding members include APRIL Group, Asian Agri, IDH, Musim Mas, PM.Haze, Rumah Pohon and Wilmar. FFA members collaborate to share information, knowledge and potentially resources to help achieve a fire and haze free Indonesia.

About the Fire Free Village Programme (FFVP)

The FFVP is a community-focussed programme that seeks to prevent the fires rather than fighting or suppressing them after they have already started.  By working with villagers in Indonesia, the programme enables, empowers and incentivises villagers to cease land burning practices.  Conceived, initiated, coordinated and driven by APRIL Group, the programme has been executed in partnership with 9 Riau villages and two local NGOs, and supported by the local government, police, military and Riau’s Disaster Mitigation Agency.

First trialled in 2014 with 4 villages, the FFVP was officially launched in 2015 and involved 9 villages.  It was recognised as an effective solution to prevent land fires and in 2016, APRIL Group’s FFVP will cover 20 villages and include 55 Community Awareness villages. Collaboration with the Fire Free Alliance will assist the programme to scale to other communities and landscapes.