The leading forum for forest monitoring for climate change

08 May 2023

Global forest monitoring community gathers together in Rome 

From May 9th to May 11th, 2023, the headquarters of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) will host the Plenary of the Global Forest Observations Initiative (GFOI). More than 300 forest monitoring experts will attend in person, while others will participate online.

GFOI is the global forum to coordinate and strengthen forest monitoring support for tropical countries. The initiative convenes an annual plenary to foster information-sharing and improve forest monitoring capabilities for sustainable forest management, aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The GFOI Office, hosted by FAO, is organizing the Plenary on behalf of GFOI's Lead partners, the Governments of Australia, Germany, Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America, as well as the participating international organizations, the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS), the European Space Agency (ESA), and the World Bank.

Progressing forest monitoring as a response to climate change

To address the climate crisis and other pressing issues like biodiversity loss, desertification, environmental degradation, renewable energy availability, and food and water security, it is imperative that the global community takes decisive and significant actions within this decade.

Forests offer some of the few solutions for controlling global greenhouse gas emissions. According to FAO's Global Forest Resources Assessment (FRA), despite some progress in reducing deforestation rates, ten million hectares of forest were lost annually due to deforestation between 2015 and 2020.

Better information on our forests allows us to take more effective action. This involves both stopping deforestation and forest degradation to reduce emissions and better restoring and managing forests to help remove carbon from the atmosphere.

During the 2023 Plenary, representatives from governments, international organizations, academia, research centers and the private sector will convene to discuss the significance of forest information in dealing with climate change and related issues.

Agenda, Side events, Exhibition

On Day 1, countries with existing national forest monitoring systems (NFMS) and emissions measurement, reporting, and verification (MRV) procedures will be sharing their experiences and showing how their data and systems can be used for effective policymaking. Participants will also gain an overview of how the international community is supporting countries with these systems through capacity building, data, methods and guidance, and research and development (R&D). 

On Day 2, the panel will discuss how forest information can support the implementation of REDD+[1] activities and the Enhanced Transparency Framework under the Paris Climate Agreement. They will share progress and skills from different countries that can help reduce emissions by improving national greenhouse gas inventories. Leading partners and countries will discuss ways to ensure that the best data and technologies are available to enable countries to establish and sustain their NFMS. The GFOI Office will also launch the brand new GFOI family of resources - an online platform for systematically organizing the vast amount of technical resources available to support countries in monitoring their forests and associated GHG emissions.

On Day 3, experts will discuss Blue Carbon and Ecosystem Restoration, focusing on their significance in dealing with climate change and preserving biodiversity. They will also explore how monitoring efforts for these activities can be better aligned under the GFOI umbrella.

Complementing the main programme, four side events will take place every day. There will be two side events during the week to showcase the new UK -FAO Aim4Forests programme, one will present Aim4Forests and the country-led planning approach and the other will provide information on expected developments for Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities. Another event will highlight success stories from the ongoing NICFI Satellite Data Programme. Additionally, FAO will launch a publication, the FAO FRA study “How much do large-scale and small-scale farming contribute to global deforestation? Results from a remote sensing pilot approach” during the side event Sample based approaches for forest monitoring. Take a look at the full side events schedule, including the Zoom credentials for each event.

Professionals in the field will have the opportunity to network and share knowledge at an exhibition set up in the Atrium. This exhibition will showcase the latest products, services, and technologies related to forest monitoring. Visitors will be able to interact with industry experts and learn about innovative advancements being made in the field to help improve forest monitoring efforts worldwide.

For more information, view agenda here, where you can find links for the webcasts as well as details for joining the meeting on Zoom ( (Passcode 11867739)). 

Follow the #GFOI2023 Plenary on @gfoi_forest Twitter. 

For any queries, please write to: [email protected].

[1] Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation, plus the sustainable management of forests, and the conservation and enhancement of forest carbon stocks (REDD+).