Boosting transparency of forest data

Charting a transparent path for global forest data and innovative climate action

08/01/2024

8 January 2024, Rome – The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) today launched a new phase of work – supported with $2 million from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) – to assist developing countries in monitoring and reporting data on both the state and changes in their forest cover more effectively and transparently.

The three-year project 'Building global capacity to increase transparency in the forest sector (CBIT-Forest): accelerating capacity-building, knowledge-sharing and awareness raising' will build understanding of the importance of transparent forest data and strengthen capacities in developing countries to enhance the quality, timeliness, accessibility, and usability of their forest-related data.

The project will directly benefit at least 20 countries and more broadly support 236 countries and territories that are part of the FAO Global Forest Resources Assessment national correspondent network.

"Forest data transparency is a cornerstone of effective climate action and sustainable forest management,” said Tiina Vähänen, Deputy Director of FAO’s Forestry Division. “It enables us to make informed decisions and achieve ambitious forest commitments such as Sustainable Development Goal 15 “Life on Land” and the Glasgow Declaration on Forests and Land Use, where over 140 countries committed to stop and reverse forest loss by 2030."

Meeting climate and development goals

The project is the second phase of FAO’s work on forest data transparency supported by the GEF’s Capacity-Building Initiative for Transparency (CBIT) fund, set up to help developing countries meet the requirements of the Paris Climate Agreement for enhanced transparency in how they report progress towards national targets on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and halting deforestation. Forests and land use are key components of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), providing a quarter of emission reductions planned by countries.

Ensuring transparent tracking and reporting of these efforts necessitates enhanced data on forests and emission reductions, greater accessibility to advanced technical and innovative methods, and the strengthening of national forest monitoring systems.

However, many developing countries lack the institutional or technical capacity to gather and share complete, reliable and timely data and face logistical challenges to monitor forests, especially in remote areas.

Concrete outputs

The new project builds on the work of CBIT-Forest, from 2020-2022, aiming to address outstanding barriers and accelerate progress towards a world where forest data is transparent, accessible and continually monitored through cutting edge technology.

The project will focus on developing capacities to champion open and transparent data at the national, regional and global levels through innovative global composite learning programs, combining virtual and in-person training.

It will also work to cement regional networks with new partners including women, youth groups and academia to ensure sustainability and transparency of forest reporting.

The project is set to enhance the Global Forest Resources Assessment platform, increase technical capacities and platforms for National Forest Monitoring Systems, and boost the development and dissemination of knowledge products related to forest data transparency. 

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