Boosting transparency of forest data

Inclusive learning key to better forest data for climate action


Scenes of flooding and storms can show us just how much weather and climate affects our lives. Climate change threatens our ability to ensure global food security, eradicate poverty and achieve sustainable development. To combat climate change and its impacts, the Paris Agreement represents a commitment by countries to limit the rise of the global average temperature. Signatories are required to provide reports on their emissions and implementation efforts for mitigation and adaptation.  The Enhanced Transparency Framework (ETF) was created to track and report on these individual country commitmentsin a fair and transparent way. Developing countries are now working to strengthen their institutional and technical capacities to meet the requirements of the ETF, with support from international organizations, including FAO.

Strengthening forest-related data

Over the last two years, FAO led the implementation of the Building global capacity to increase transparency in the forest sector project (CBIT-Forest) with funding from the Global Environment Facility. The objective of the project was to strengthen institutional and technical capacities of developing countries in forest-related data collection, analysis, and dissemination processes to meet the enhanced transparency requirements of the Paris Agreement. The CBIT-Forest project directly benefited 26 target countries, including seven pilot countries: Brazil, Côte d’Ivoire, Guatemala, Honduras, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Thailand and Uganda,and indirectly, 187 countriesand territories from the global network of the Global Forest Resources Assessment.Coming to a close this year, the project has boosted awareness of the importance of transparent and reliable data, as well as the steps needed to meet the requirements of the Enhanced Transparency Framework. However, in some countries, more concrete work and external support are still needed. Despite the disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic the project was a success. CBIT-Forest navigated the challenges of the pandemicby exploring new opportunities – expanding its plans for virtualcapacity development, knowledge sharing and raising awareness through products and events, such as webinarse-learning courses, and case studiesin multiple languages. Expanding the use of virtual modalities strengthened participation, in part due to the creation of incentives like a digital badge certification. The online and hybrid formatsalso made it easier for women to participate in project events.

Gender-sensitive approach 

Overall, 39 percent of participants in the CBIT-Forest virtual trainings were women. Notably, women lead many activities and discussions in pilot countries, sharing their opinions even in instances where female participation was low. The project was particularly gender-sensitive, with project staff participating in trainings on gender and conducting separate analysis to adopt a gender-responsive approach to forest monitoring. As a result, female participationwas considered high for a predominately male-dominated field.  

Strong engagement  

The success of the CBIT-Forest project is especially marked by its engagement, which strongly encouraged participation from women, Indigenous Peoples and local communities. Virtual engagement from different groups saw the project contribute to global awareness of data transparency and the important role forest information plays in climate action. It also helped to strengthen technical capacities of forest data collection and dissemination, particularly in targeted pilot countries. 

Building on the project outcomes  

To continue to build on the project efforts, inclusive access to project materials must be maintained and expanded by increasing the use of the incentives and continued translation of technical forestry tools, documents and guidelines, into multiple languages. Access to consistent and accurate forest data, as well as proper training materials,are particularly vital, as they enable better decision making that supports sustainable forest management and use.   The CBIT-Forest project has expanded learning opportunities related to the collection, analysisand dissemination of forest data and provided avenues for countries to share best practices. The lessons learned and project recommendations will allow countries and individuals to continue learning and collaborating – continuing the momentum of CBIT-Forest. Read more about the project and explore recommendations for future efforts

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This post was originally featured on the "Evaluation at FAO" website: