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ICAO supports Russia’s initiative on international forest fire fighting

9 December 2020

ICAO supports Russia’s initiative on international forest fire fighting

ICAO Aviation Green Recovery Seminar with the slogan “Time to build back better” was held from 23 to 24 November 2020. Over 350 specialists from the member states participated at the online event, more than 30 reports were made by representatives of the international aviation community.

Key topics of discussion were the ongoing work towards environmentally sustainable future as well as the concrete actions for near-, mid-, and long-term implementation.

In light of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement objectives, the participants to the seminar stressed the need for climate action by aviation and inspiring solutions for aviation’s deep decarbonisation by States and industry to reduce the CO2 emissions and to cope with the global environmental crisis.

Building upon the previous initiatives on international forest fire fighting presented by the Russian Federation in 2013 and 2019, the representatives of the Central Institute of Aviation Motors (CIAM, a part of the National Research Center "Zhukovsky Institute"), Russia, made a presentation “Aviation and Forest Fire Fighting”. They noted a growing globalization of forest fires impact whose consequences can be of cross-border, regional and even intercontinental nature. For many countries, it is directly related to the lack of local resources to combat wildfires, which has a general negative impact on the global ecosphere and climate change.

Russia has some of the world’s best specialized aircraft to extinguish forest fires and uses a number of advanced techniques. The effectiveness of the Russian fire extinguishing means and methods has been repeatedly confirmed both in Russia and abroad: in Greece, Serbia, Montenegro, Portugal, Indonesia, Turkey, etc.

In September 2020, the General Director of the Rostec State Corporation Sergey Chemezov proposed at Hydroaviasalon to create a specialized Be-200 amphibious firefighting aircraft squadron for extinguishing forest fires, to be used in Russia and abroad, within the framework of humanitarian projects.

At the seminar, the Russian experts turned to ICAO, which is leading the aviation green recovery, for the leadership in helping the forest sector, to which humanity owes a great debt, become more resilient to forest fires, remain, as before, the main CO2 storage, and thereby affect global CO2 emissions. Organization of international cooperation under the aegis of ICAO could contribute to a solution of such acute wildfire issues as legal problems of engaging foreign aircraft and specialists, joint safe use of airspace, international certification and wide implementation of advanced fire-fighting equipment and technology, training of international air crews, etc.

Following the report of the Russian Federation, the ICAO Secretariat launched the ICAO Flying Forest Fire Fighting Dialog (I4F Dialog) to support a broad open discussion under the auspices of ICAO to identify stakeholders in international cooperation in the use of aviation for fighting wildfires, and issues requiring joint consideration and decision.

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations. Among other activities, ICAO sets the standards and regulations needed to ensure aviation safety, security, efficiency, capacity and environmental protection. CIAM has been actively involved in the development of ICAO standards since the moment the USSR joined it. A CIAM specialist is the official representative of the Russian Federation in the ICAO Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection (CAEP ICAO).