2013 GREEN STAR AWARDS SUCCESS STORIES
WHAT HAS CHANGED SINCE THEN?
NIKOLA NIKOLOV SHARES HIS EXPERIENCE AFTER RECEIVING A GREEN STAR AWARD
Nikola Nikolov, of Macedonia, is a Full Professor on the Faculty of Forestry in Skopje where he also founded and is leading the Regional Fire Monitoring Center (RFMC). He is an expert in the field of forest protection especially forest fire protection. In 2013, he received a Green Star Award in Preparedness for his work on the humanitarian and environmental impacts of wildfires. In the following, he tells about the impact such recognition has had in his life:
“After receiving the Award I had interviews in the couple of national newspapers and TV stations.I was invited as a trainer at the Regional Fire Management Training for South Caucasus and Western Balkans.The training was held in the frame of the OSCE/ENVSEC project “Enhancing National Capacity on Fire Management and Wildfire Disaster Risk Reduction in the South Caucasus” in the Fire Management Training Center, Antalya, Turkey, 15-17 October 2014. The Regional Fire Monitoring Center (RFMC), through the Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC), was actively engaged in all phases of the organization of the training. About 60 participants were part of the training as representatives of 11 countries of the Regional Southeast European/Caucasus Wildland Fire Network (Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Turkey, Ukraine and Kosovo) and OSCE.
I was invited to be speaker at the Aerial Firefighting Conference in Zadar, Croatia in 2015 and also to participate at 2015 Environment Emergencies Forum in Oslo, Norway in June 2015.
I participated at the 4th International Convention of Environmental Laureates in Freiburg-Germany in March 2015 were I had an opportunity to meet many Laureates in different professional areas and some of them (with the similar professional fields of interest) were interested in collaborations. It was a nice experience to spend a day in the new international college “UWC Robert Bosch College Freiburg” together with the young students from all over the world. They had opportunity to discuss with us for a couple of hours and I was impressed of their curiosity to learn something more for our work.
Furthermore, there were couple of proposals for international projects which are in procedure for submission or approval.”
WHAT HAS CHANGED SINCE THE GREEN RECOVERY AND RECONSTRUCTION TOOLKIT RECEIVED A GREEN STAR AWARD?
In 2013, the World Wildlife Fund and the American Red Cross received a Green Star Award in Mainstreaming Environment in humanitarian action for their joint Green Recovery and Reconstruction Toolkit (GRRT). In 2014, advancements on GRRT’s implementation were made.
- Disaster Risk and Recovery and Climate Change Adaptation Training Held for Belize Government
In January 2014, the Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) and Disaster Risk and Recovery (DRR) teams at World Wildlife Fund (WWF) led three workshops on CCA and Green Recovery and Reconstruction for the Government of Belize. The workshops were sponsored by the Climate Change Office of the Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development (MFFSD) and targeted central people from the government. Participants included managers from key agencies, heads of department from the MFFSD, and ministry CEOs who comprise the Belize National Climate Change Committee. Based on workshops given for WWF staff and partners, the team clarified key climate concepts (variability, vulnerability, impacts, adaptation, etc.), discussed how a changing climate affects development and natural resource management goals, and stressed the importance of integrating people, species, and ecosystems into all areas of work. Participants also learned practical techniques for integrating environmental sustainability into disaster recovery and reconstruction. Seventy government employees participated in the workshop, and all responses collected have been overwhelmingly positive. Due to the success of the trainings, the National Climate Change office is considering inviting both teams back to speak to the Cabinet of Belize. They have also expressed interest in conducting a full version of the Green Recovery and Reconstruction training and holding a train the trainer workshop so Belize civil servants can deliver this workshop to their own constituents.
- Green Recovery and Reconstruction Toolkit Training in Guatemala
In December 2014, the annual rainy season is coming to an end in Guatemala. Back in August – when WWF Guatemala held a two and a half day training on the Green Recovery and Reconstruction Training Toolkit (GRRT) – it seemed Guatemala was entering a severe drought that would ultimately affect food supplies and worsen living conditions for rural residents. But later in the season, Guatemala experienced heavy rains and flooding, which eventually left 28 people dead.
As part of the training, the 25 participants went to a small river behind the training site to conduct a flood risk assessment (the river has flooded frequently in the past) and identify how impacts could be modified using an environment-based approach to disaster risk reduction. It is likely that this river has flooded with the rains in Guatemala. It is ironic that trainees were looking at a then, almost dry river when about an hour away in San Marcos an earthquake had occurred only a few weeks earlier. As one of the participants suggested, it would have been useful for the trainees to have done a real post-disaster assessment and recovery plan for San Marcos as part of the exercise. Drought in August. Flooding in October. An earthquake in between. It is safe to say that Guatemala is a disaster-prone country. But this is only half the story.
The country has a developed disaster management system, headed by the Executive Secretariat of CONRED that provides warnings for droughts, flooding, severe weather (including hurricanes) and also periodic dangers posed by volcanoes. The August GRRT training was intended to strengthen the country’s recovery capacities. In many countries, considerable effort by governments, NGOs, and communities is put into planning immediate disaster relief, but recovery itself usually does not get similar attention. To build environmentally focused recovery capacity in Guatemala, the GRRT training focused on representatives from governmental institutions, municipalities, and national and international NGOs in Guatemala who could in turn train others. The training in Xela was delivered by Arabella Samayoa, an experienced trainer who had limited knowledge of the GRRT approach before the training. By all measures, the training was a success: Arabella did an excellent job mastering the materials and participants wanted to know more about other GRRT modules that were not covered in this training.
It was clear that the environmental community in Guatemala can bring considerable capacity to reducing risk by supporting an environmentally responsible disaster response. WWF is now working to include the GRRT as part of CONRED’s training program and expand GRRT training to other Latin American and Caribbean countries. The GRRT training materials used in Guatemala can be found on this website in both Spanish and English along with additional information. The GRRT training in Xela was organized by WWF Guatemala under the leadership of Ana Victoria Rodriguez, with the support of Anita van Breda, WWF US Disaster Response and Risk Reduction program. Funding for the training came from the Program Climate, Nature and Communities in Guatemala, Component 3 managed by The Nature Conservancy (TNC), and funded by the US Agency for International Development.
SERGIY ZIBTSEV SHARES HIS EXPERIENCE AFTER RECEIVING A GREEN STAR AWARD
During the last 20 years of his professional career, Sergiy Zibtsev, professor at the National University of Life and Environmental Sciences of Ukraine, devoted his efforts for preventing wildfires of catastrophic dimensions in forests contaminated by radioactivity, as a consequence of the failure of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in 1986. In 2013, he received a Green Star Award in Preparedness for his work on the humanitarian and environmental impacts of wildfires. In the following, he tells about the impact such recognition has had in his life:
“Let me shortly describe the result of my nomination GSA 2013:
First of all the Award increased essentially visibility of me personally and our Regional Eastern European Fire Monitoring Center both regionally and nationally. After numerous publications in national media about the Award, we were involved in most of official activities related with fire policy and fire management in Ukraine and in some cases in other countries of the region. The Center become kind of platform for discussion between emergency and fire authorities, research institutions, universities and general public about how we should manage our fire in a framework of sustainable forest and grassland management and under many changes occurring around.
I was invited to published a series of articles about integrated fire management in Ukrainian Forestry and Hunting Journal. Together with Prof. Johann G. Goldammer, we were invited to publish a scientific papers and provide a nimbler of experiment. The example of our activity is a latest fire occurred in Chernobyl 26-29 of April. I was invited to many national radio and TV channels for comments.
So concluding I would like to say that in the end via Award we become more known as a recognized experts specialists that via media and activity allow us better serve society in terms of placing modern approaches to prevent and in same time use fire in forests and grasslands.”
THE IMPACT OF THE GREEN STAR AWARDS ON THE WORK OF KENYA RED CROSS
The Green Star Award was awarded to KRCS as a result of the great work done in responding to the Sinai fire tragedy caused by fuel sippage. The emergency led into the death of over 120 people with over 200 others injured. KRCS responded by sending its personnel and ambulance services to rescue the victims and transport them to hospital as well as providing pre-hospital care. KRCS further assisted in collecting bodies a lot of which were strewn allover including some being collected from the polluted river crossing through Sinai. There was subsequent support by KRCS in coordinating humanitarian assistance to the affected families which included shelter, food and clothing.
Some of the lessons learnt from Sinai that would later lead to the some changes in KRCS work including lessons that informed certain government policies included:
- Poor urban planning especially of the informal settlements leaving no room for the fire engines and ambulances to access the site quickly.
- The nature of the materials used in constructing the houses were highly flammable(Carton boxes and plywood) which made the fire spread very fast
- Most community members had siphoned the fuel and stored the same in their houses which led to more casualties.
- Inadequate prehospital care capacity within the country.
As a result of the above and drawing from the Lessons learnt, KRCS has done the following:
- Kenya Red Cross has adopted a holistic approach to its programming in the area of Urban Risk Reduction focusing on the informal settlements. Previously, there single hazard approach with emphasis on fire prevention programmes and this did not address other needs of the communities including lack of proper linkage to other critical sectors and stakeholders. The realization that other sectors like proper waste disposal both solid and waste pre disposes at risk community to further vulnerabilities. There are also trainings conducted to enhance the capacity of the community in planning for their houses and leaving adequate room for access roads and service lines.
- The KRCS programming approach has further been strengthened with regards to engagement and involvement of other development actors including the slum dwellers, the invisible landlords, industries and property developers to ensure proper planning for utilities and service lines for effective response to any emergencies that may occur.
- Through lobbying and advocacy there have been changes in policy where the informal settlements are slowly being recognized and proper upgrading programmes initiated jointly by UNHABITAT and the Kenya government. Provision of basic services which had previously been denied (As these settlements were considered illegal) has now been approved and there is structured power connections including water, drainage systems, roads and other sanitation facilities. This has of course reduced the challenges of using substandard materials in the connection of electricity which pose potential hazards. This has also increased access during response. There is more government involvement in finding solutions to the informal settlement including for example units like the National Youth Service in cleaning up the slum areas.
- With regards to the provision of prehospital care KRCS has significantly increased its ambulance fleet from the previous 42 to about 200 and it’s now the leading provider of ambulances services in the country. This has significantly improved prehospital care in the country in addition to contributing a lot in upgrading the ambulance service in the country. KRCS has further set up a training center International Center for Humanitarian Affairs (ICHA) where a lot of people are now effectively trained in prehospital care. This capacity enhancement programmes have greatly improved emergency response ion the Country.
- KRCS has further contributed a lot in the development of Coordination systems for emergency response in the country. KRCS with technical support from Magen David Adom in Israel developed the MCI protocol and lobbied for the development of the National Disaster stakeholdersMCI protocol. This has led to proper coordination and involvement of all stakeholders including the hospitals, National Disaster Operations Center, National Disaster Management Unit etc. There is also more flexibility and involvement of the Private hospitals in admitting victims of a disaster which was previously not the case.
- Further to the Award there was support from the JEU for Kenya where a team was put together to strengthen the capacity of key stakeholder in the in the management of the chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) related emergencies. This contributed into the development of the national CBRN plan which includes risk and resource mapping for effective response to any potential CBRN related disaster. Subsequent to the training a pilot survey on risk mapping was done in Mombasa and Nairobi and more resources are needed to upscale this to other counties.