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Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition • FSN Forum

Re: Online consultation on the first draft of the FAO voluntary guidelines on national forest monitoring

Carla Ramirez
Carla RamirezFAOGuatemala

Congratulations for the idea and the effor to develop this very useful document!

Please find the following comments,

1. The document is talking about forest monitoring system, but even though it is implicit (in this section) that one main approach of this document is to keep both Remote sensing monitoring and monitoring with field data. The most of the people and the information available in the Web are more focused on Remote sensing monitoring approach. So many people cannot feel identified with this document, I did not check  the previous chapters if this issue is discussed, but in this sectiion most of the discussions are focused on forest inventories, so it would be nice  to make visible the linkage between both approaches and how them works together to finally evaluate forests and forest resources and services.

2. In some parts of the document the descriptions are much detailed than others, so the document rather than guidelines seems to be a protocol or manual. In some sections is too much technical, for the understanding of all the broad public, or the stakeholders that are not biometricians.

3. In all the document a relation with the NFMS for MRV requirements for REDD+ mechanism is missing.

In chapter 2.1 (Institutionalization): I suggest to include in the title: “and public financial mechanisms”. The NFMS should be a mandate from the Governments to provide a public service on reliable data on forests. Lack of permanent financial mechanisms is one of the main bottlenecks to install permanently the NFMS.

4. Chapter 2.1 where say "permanently institutionalized NFMS can efficiently promote"..., the item 4 can include: "Allow governments to report in a consistent and transparent manner to international commitments.

5. Institutionalization also can adress to governments to formalize the public financial and investment mechanisms. Financial sustainability is missing, and it can be a principle.

6. Chapter 2.2: National capacities should start with the institutional structure. After develop a legal framework for institutionalization, it is necessary that countries analyze and adapt the previous institutional structure at national and subnational level (the last one, when applicable).   This  step allows to build other aspects on country capacities as human resources and infrastructure.  The document just mention about human capacities. It is necessary develop more about infrastructure, for example appropriate equipped offices (national and sub-national), including buildings, furnishing, hardware, software, satellite imageries, measuring equipment,  vehicles (cars, boats, motorcycles), etc.

7. Chapter 2.2 (capacities): I suggest to make a list of the institutional capacities divided on technical and operational management.  Technical capacities: forest inventory sampling techniques (critical), remote sensing, field measurements,  data processing and analysis, information-data base development, communication techniques. Operational management are necessary on planning (this is critical), human resources, administrative and logistics management.

8. Chapter 2.2 paraph 2: Is less strong to say: The persons responsible to implement the NFMS should have the appropriate level of education to reach the necessary knowledge and experiences through specific trainings and learning-by-doing. on the field of expertise

7. Chapter 3.3. Stakeholder engagement can be supported by the concepts around the dialog mechanisms for NFP.

8. Chapter 4.1. This sections is focused on methodological design. Maybe is better to write a more apppropiate title.

9. Terms and definitions are very important for the field data protocol.

10. For the operation design it is important to be developed by a person that know the public adminsitrition. 

11. Chapter 4.3.3 The administrative staff should understand the data collection procedures. When the funds comes from public sources there are many constraints and procedures that are not easy to manage and can evolve in high risks over the data.

12. Chapter 4.3.5 Fieldwork planning: It is needed to take into account the administrative modality to operate the monitoring system. Some countries has the possibility to contract governamental staff to operate (regular staff), other should outsourcing the field work and quality control. On the other hand, to develop whatever direct government staff, or outsourcing, the administrative modality to mobilize the public sources are very important to understand, not only the persons in charge of the NFI, but also the Ministry of Finance and financing departments in the institution in charge. This situation is a bottleneck to operate as cost-efficient, rather than the cost-efficient in the methodology design.

13. Chapter 4.4 data management and analysis: Should be discussed the institution in charge for the data analysis, in some cases the institution for data collection it should not be the same for the data analysis. For example the forestry authority can collect the data and a research institute analyze the data. The mesage is that the data analysis process should be institutionalized too.

14. Field work protocol should include how to re-measure the permanent plots, if it is talking about permante forest monitoring.

15. Continue motivation for the field crew is the best practice for the quality control in measurements, because the field work is a hard work. Motivation  should be part of the training programme. Also a internal check should be part of the work in the field. 

16.On the other hand. Insurance for the field crews is crucial. In many countries the security of the field crews is missed as in this document. It is necessary to mention in the field protocol or develop a separate protocol for contingencies.