Data collection and analysis
Information and Analysis for Sustainable Forest Management: Linking National and International Efforts in South Asia and Southeast Asia
(EC-FAO Partnership Programme (2000-2002) - Project GCP/RAS/173/EC)Information Notes One and Two (March 2002)
The Asia-Pacific Forestry Sector Outlook Study (completed in 1998) assessed the current state of forestry in the region and provided insights into the likely developments in the forestry sector until the year 2010. While the study was perceived as a genuine success, the Asia-Pacific Forestry Commission (APFC) emphasised the need to improve the quality of forestry information used by policymakers in the region. In response to this, the APFC established a Working Group on Forestry Statistics and Information and requested FAO to provide support to strengthen forestry data collection and analysis. This project has been developed to complement and build upon this effort.
The overall objective of the project is to promote the sustainable management of trees and forests in South and Southeast Asia, by helping countries to develop policies that integrate and balance all of the relevant economic, environmental and social aspects of forestry. It aims to do this by strengthening the capacity in countries to collect and compile reliable information about forestry and to use this information for the development of forestry policies.
The specific objectives of the Project are as follows:
- to strengthen the capacity in countries to collect, compile and disseminate reliable and up-to-date information about forestry;
- to make that information more readily available to policymakers; and
- to improve forestry sector analysis in the region.
Most project activities will be implemented by national and regional institutions in South and Southeast Asia with technical assistance and guidance from FAO. The project will include activities in the following main areas:
- Desk studies. Desk studies will examine data collection and analysis in countries in topic areas that are important to each particular country;
- Pilot studies. Pilot studies will test data collection methodologies and will focus specifically on important topics where there is little information at the moment;
- Forest policy reviews. Forest policy reviews will examine specific policy issues in countries, using the improved data and information collected as part of the project; and
- Workshops. Workshops will examine the processes and strategies for collecting and disseminating forestry data and information at the national level and review project activities in the participating countries.
Operating under the guidance of the APFC's Working Group on Forestry Statistics, the project will take full advantage of all ongoing national and regional efforts related to forestry information gathering and analysis. A regional network of National Focal Points has also been established to assist with the co-ordination of Project activities in countries.
Workshop proceedings. Workshop proceedings include copies of country papers presented at the workshops plus a record of the discussions and conclusions reached at the workshops.
Thematic and country reports. Thematic and country reports will include the contributions of experts working in the forestry sector in the region. These reports will include d escriptions and analyses of the processes used to collect and disseminate information as well as suggestions about how information management might be improved in the future.
In addition to the production of reports, this Project will also lead to a number of other results. Statistics presented in country reports will be used to update the FAO forest products statistical database (FAOSTAT) and other international databases such as those included in the Global Forest Resources Assessment. As a result, the best forestry statistics that are currently available in these countries will be widely disseminated to a large audience through FAO's global presence on the Internet and in other publications that are widely distributed.
Statistical capacity in countries will be enhanced by the technical review and comments provided FAO staff and by the networking and discussion of common problems and issues during workshops. The establishment of a network of forestry statistical correspondents will support the APFC's Working Group on Forestry Statistics and Information.
By the end of the project (December 2002), the forestry information systems in the participating countries should have improved significantly, leading to more reliable information for policy analysis and planning.