In 2009 Indonesia committed to significantly reduce its GHG emissions, a commitment that has been integrated in its national determined contributions. Wildfires on peat make up a significant part of these emissions. From 2016 to 2020, they contributed to over 50 percent of total emissions. In addition, haze related to wildfires is the largest humanitarian disaster impacting Indonesia and adjacent countries. A 2016 study estimated that the ‘2015 Southeast Asian haze’ may have caused around 100,000 deaths and impacted over 28 million people in Indonesia alone, with more than 140,000 reported respiratory illnesses. This makes peat fires the largest humanitarian disaster affecting the ASEAN region.
UNEP, together with the UN-REDD Programme, has been working on integrated fire management since 2015. The initial scope, with support from USAID, was on community capacity, building strength through community-based fire brigades and land restoration pilots. In response to the development of a cluster -based integrated fire management approach, UNEP organized a South-South collaboration with South Africa. Both the government of Indonesia (GOI), USAID and UNEP concluded that the cluster approach and having Indonesian policy makers get familiar with practices from the South African Fire Protection Association, was strengthening Indonesia’s fire management.