Global Forest Resources Assessments

FRA 2025: Capacity Building for Effective Forest Resource Reporting

FAO workshop in Bangkok highlights importance of forest data for sustainable practices


In a world where climate change and deforestation pose major threats to our planet's ecosystems, the Global Forest Resources Assessment (FRA) has been crucial in monitoring and reporting on the state of the world's forests. A clear and comprehensive global picture allows governments to develop sound policies and support sustainable practices and investments in forests and forestry. 

Assessments are ongoing for the next report, which will be launched in 2025. FRA 2025 data are collected using commonly agreed terms and definitions through a transparent, traceable reporting process and a well-established network of officially nominated national correspondents that covers 179 countries and territories.

As part of the process, the Food and Agriculture Organization held a regional workshop in Bangkok, Thailand, to provide technical support and guidance to national correspondents from the Asian region. 

Strengthening collaboration and supporting national correspondents
The four-day workshop, held at the Amari Watergate Hotel, was attended by over 40 people, including representatives from 19 countries. The event was organized in collaboration with the Asia-Pacific Rural and Agricultural Credit Association (APRACA). During the workshop, participants were provided with technical assistance on the online platform used to compile the country reports, and guidance on how to apply FRA 2025 terms, definitions, and guidelines. The goal was to improve the quality and reliability of the FRA 2025 estimates by ensuring that the data provided was as complete, consistent, and transparent as possible.

Participants also had the opportunity to discuss outstanding issues they faced while compiling the country reports, share their experiences on forest-related reporting, and network with other FRA national correspondents. One specific challenge was noted by the delegate for Bangladesh who explained how climate change has increased the total land area due to increasing sediments from Meghna river. To combat this, new Mangroves are being planted to hold the land. Increased mangrove cover is a documented trend in Asia, which has the highest area of mangroves in the world.

The workshop mainly consisted of technical sessions on FRA reporting using the online platform and time was allocated for clarifications and discussions related to preparing the FRA 2025 country reports. One-on-one meetings were also organized to better address specific issues faced by individual countries. The FRA geospatial tools available through the platform were introduced and discussed, and feedback and requests for possible improvements were collected.

Green spaces in the heart of Bangkok
On the third day of the workshop, participants had the opportunity to visit Srinakorn Khuaenkhan Park consisting of landscaped gardens next to a lake and un-manicured and overgrown coconut plantations. The area is renowned for its surprising level of wilderness and the wide range of birds it attracts, particularly during migratory periods.  The second part of the field trip was to Suan Pa Ked Nom Klao, an urban forest that exemplifies community participation in helping the state take care of the forest.

Urban and peri-urban forests such as these have been found to contribute to food and nutrition security, alleviate poverty through their numerous direct and indirect economic impacts, and can increase cities’ resilience to severe weather events. In FRA 2020, the area of land occupied by trees in urban settings was found to have increased by 7.45 million hectares globally between 1990 and 2020. 

Putting it into practice
The final day of the workshop consisted of further technical sessions, as well as the establishment of national work plans for reporting, which correspondents will now put into action. The technical skills acquired during over the four-day period will allow them to provide quality and reliable data that will offer a complete, consistent and transparent picture of Asia’s forests when the next FRA is released. 

The workshop closed with an to gather valuable insight into the event's effectiveness and efficiency to assist the FRA team in the design and delivery of future regional workshops. This is the third such regional workshop in a continuing series that will support countries across the globe meet their reporting requirements for FRA 2025.