First comprehensive portal to track international capacity development support for forest monitoring and climate action

27 January 2020

The Global Forest Observations Initiative (GFOI) has unveiled a new portal for tracking international capacity development support to developing countries in forest monitoring. The GFOI Inventory of Activities provides easy-to-access information on the assistance being delivered by the international community to developing countries to improve their forest monitoring capabilities.

The Inventory includes more than 400 forest monitoring activities in some 70 developing countries across Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean. The information displayed has been collated by GFOI partners, including national governments, development practitioners, space agencies and other experts who are all seeking to better coordinate their forest monitoring assistance. “We are excited to announce the GFOI Inventory of Activities is now live to the public. This platform demonstrates the enormity of work undertaken in the forest monitoring sector and we hope it will further encourage global coordination,” said the Manager of the GFOI Office, Tom Harvey.  

Since 2011, GFOI’s mission has been to coordinate the delivery of international assistance in forest monitoring. “This tool allows us to quickly and easily see the breadth of support being delivered to developing countries by GFOI’s international partners. It also serves as a vital tool for global coordination in the forest monitoring sector. From the platform, we can identify gaps, avoid overlaps and explore opportunities for new partnerships to address the challenges that implementing countries face as they develop their National Forest Monitoring Systems,” Thomas Harvey added.

The tool was designed and populated by the partners leading the initiative including: Australia, Germany, Norway UK, US’s SilvaCarbon Programme, the International Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS), the European Space Agency (ESA), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Bank. The platform will be maintained by the GFOI Office, hosted by FAO, with funding from Australia and Norway.


Transparent forest information for climate action: a coordinated approach

In the era of big geospatial data, as information grows in quantity, diversity and usability, coordination among international actors is essential.

Nations face mounting pressures to deliver up-to-date and transparent information on forests and greenhouse gas emissions that meet internationally established standards. Developing countries are working to develop self-sustained national forest monitoring systems that integrate the latest technologies in remote sensing and ground-based observations to monitor changes in the extent and condition of forests.

Forests provide a range of services for both rural people and global populations. Some 129 million hectares of forest land has been lost between 1990 and 2015, a space equivalent to the size of South Africa, according to the Global Forest Resources Assessment (FRA) released in 2015.

Landmark deals such as the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development have already acknowledged that forests are a key asset in the fight against climate change as well as that transparent forest information is crucial to trigger urgent action to protect the environment and the most vulnerable communities, including those closely affected by land degradation and deforestation.


GFOI Inventory of Activities:

FAO Press release: