Technicians from Costa Rica’s National System of Conservation Areas (Sinac) are sharing their knowledge of forest firefighting with members of the National Environmental Protection Service (Senpa) as part of a cooperation program focused on training human resources.
The training, which began with the opening of a workshop, is part of the project Strengthening Capacities for the Prevention and Reduction of Forest Fires, of Senpa’s Military Unit of Forest Firefighters (UMBF), which aims to strengthen Costa Rica’s technical assistance, security and defense of the environment, through the combat and prevention of forest fires in the Dominican Republic.
The project emerged from the Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation between Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic, under the coordination of the Vice Ministry of International Cooperation of the Ministry of Economy, Planning and Development (MEPyD), and the Ministry of Planning and Economic Policy (Mideplan) of Costa Rica.
The opening of the workshop, held at Senpa’s headquarters, was led by the Minister of Environment, Miguel Ceara Hatton, and the Costa Rican Ambassador to the Dominican Republic, Edwin Vásquez Chinchilla.
Also, by Captain René Rodríguez Álvarez, director of Senpa; Clara María Aquino Smester, general director of Bilateral Cooperation Ministry of Economy, Planning and Development (MEPyD); Luis Diego Román Madriz, head of the Sinac mission, and the ambassador of the Dominican Republic in Costa Rica, Mayerlyn Cordero Díaz, who participated virtually.
Also, Francisco Contreras Núñez, head of the Specialized Attorney for the Defense of the Environment and Natural Resources (Proedemaren).
In his opening remarks at one of the workshops, Minister Ceara Hatton described the training of Sinac technicians as a step forward in the protection of Dominican forests. He stated that forest fires represent a threat to the reforestation actions carried out by the institution, in order to protect river basins and forests, which are the country’s water regulation mechanisms.
“The issue of water, the issue of reforestation is a mechanism we have to regulate the waters in the country. And this reforestation is sometimes threatened by fires. Many times they are fires due to the practice of slash and burn agriculture, that is why we give a lot of importance to our defense of the forests, which are the forest firefighters,” said Ceara Hatton.
He acknowledged the effort made by the forest firefighters in fighting these fires. “I am very happy that Senpa is increasing training, education, I think this is an important step, an act of public awareness that we should encourage, reproduce,” he said.
“There is a lot missing, I am aware of that situation as Minister of Environment, but believe me, we are making every effort to ensure the protection of our rivers, to strengthen our forests, and in that you have a very important role, strengthening the protection of forests,” he added.
Meanwhile, Rodríguez Álvarez emphasized that the program seeks to “strengthen the security and defense of our environment and forested areas”. “With efforts such as these, the will of the nations involved to continue contributing to the strengthening of combined actions, with a view to benefiting environmental conservation and the preservation of existing natural resources and the main areas of natural habitat, is evident,” he said.
He explained that the training workshop comprises two modules, the first one started last week through the use of virtual platforms, and that on Monday the on-site module began, which complements the practical training of the Basic Incident Command System, Forest Firefighters Course and the Forest Fire Operational Planning Workshop.