Boosting transparency of forest data

Connecting forest reporting actors in Southeast Asia

FAO to boost information sharing in the context of the Paris Agreement and SDGs

Primary lowland tropical forest in Kalimantan, Indonesia ©FAO/Kenichi Shono

Representatives from governments and international organizations working in Southeast Asia will gather in a virtual workshop on 4 and 16 March to consolidate linkages between forest-related reporting processes in the region.

Organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) with the participation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the event will be participated by forestry experts from ten countries  – Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Viet Nam.

This workshop is the first of a series of subregional events aimed to strengthen forest-related reporting through improved consistency and transparency. It will be followed by a workshop with Central American countries, as well as by an event with Western and Central African countries, both on 11 and 23 March 2021.

Forest data for climate action and sustainable development

Forests play a central role in combating climate change and promoting sustainable development, and they are key to preserving life on land. Both the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for development acknowledge the need to protect and manage the world’s forests wisely. Furthermore, they both recognize that accurate, reliable and transparent data are crucial to make the right decisions.

As mandated by its constitution, FAO collects, analyses, interprets and disseminates information relating to forests. In particular, every five years FAO produces the Global Forest Resources Assessment, also known as FRA.

Based on official national statistics, FRA is the most comprehensive assessment of the world’s forest resources. FRA data help shape policies as well as inform and encourage forest-related investment decisions.

FRA is also the mechanism for collecting data on two forest-related indicators of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 15 Life on Land. Specifically, data submitted to FRA contribute to reporting on SDG indicator 15.1.1[1] and indicator 15.2.1[2].

The results of the latest assessment (FRA 2020) were launched last year in a number of formats, including an on-line open access database, which contains all the data and metadata countries reported to FRA 2020.

Linking different reporting processes to improve data in Southeast Asia

Southeast Asian rainforests are unique hotpots of biodiversity and the planet’s carbon reservoir. According to FRA 2020, forest covers 210 million hectares of land area in the ten invited countries in 2020.

Participants in this workshop include FRA national correspondents, focal points to the UNFCCC and the National Statistical officers. They will be encouraged to share their experiences with the forest-related data collection and reporting, including challenges and best practices. “Participants will have the opportunity to strengthen collaboration to ultimately improve transparency and consistency of forest data in their countries”, said Örjan Jonsson, FAO Forestry Officer.

The initiative takes place with the support of the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) and the Government of Norway.

 Insight into the Global Forest Resources Assessment process


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[1] Forest area as a proportion of total land area.

[2] Progress towards sustainable forest management.