Boosting transparency of forest data

Transparency and Trust: The Enhanced Transparency Framework in Focus at the GFOI Plenary 2023

Author: ©FAO/Roberto Cenciarelli

The GFOI Plenary 2023 was a significant event that focused on the role of forest information in addressing climate change. The discussions revolved around how the international community can work together to support tropical countries in establishing their national forest monitoring systems (NFMS) for multiple purposes. The plenary agenda included dedicated sessions on four sub-topics: REDD+, the enhanced transparency framework (ETF), Blue Carbon, and Ecosystem Restoration. 

The ETF session, that took place on 10 May 2023, highlighted the importance of transparency, showcased country implementation and promoted transparent forest data in supporting the ETF. The speakers included Rocío Cóndor from FAO, Jenny Wong from the UNFCCC Secretariat, Kenset Rosales from Guatemala, Bob Kazungu from Uganda, and Jeremy Ferrand from the Lao People's Democratic Republic. 

In her opening remarks, Rocío Cóndor (FAO) highlighted how “transparency helps build mutual trust and accountability and encourages countries to increase their climate ambition over time, boosting the transparency of forest data for climate action will be vital for supporting the enhanced transparency framework". 

Jenny Wong from the UNFCCC Secretariat highlighted the ETF and its role in the Paris Agreement. She emphasized the importance of robust institutional arrangements for a robust NFMS and encouraged building technical capacities and sharing knowledge for preparing the first biennial transparency report. She talked about the need for exchange of knowledge, because “as you build your institutional arrangements in your country, bear in mind that countries are at different starting points. It's very useful to share experiences with each other and learn from each other.” 

Kenset Rosales from Guatemala presented their work on the ETF, including through the FAO/GEF “Building Global Capacity to Increase Transparency in the Forest Sector (CBIT-Forest)” project . He spoke about the importance of coordination and the national information system for climate change in Guatemala. He also highlighted the challenges faced in reporting and the need for technical support. 

Bob Kazungu from Uganda shared the country's efforts in forest data transparency and the role of their NFMS. He mentioned that Uganda was the first tropical country to share its national forest inventory in the FAO's Food and Agriculture Microdata (FAM) Catalogue, and the mobilization of partners within the country “we have mobilized partners across both forestry, agriculture, landscape and sectors to deliver what they're doing in terms of forest landscape restoration."  

The discussions emphasized the importance of forest monitoring in increasing ambition in nationally determined contributions (NDCs) and the need for continuous capacity building and technical support. The session underscored the importance of data dissemination and information sharing as key lessons in forest data transparency. The experiences shared have highlighted the readiness to apply the recommendations and lessons learned from various projects to further enhance forest data transparency at both national and global levels.  

National forest monitoring systems, along with the data and information they generate, were identified as the cornerstones of reliable, credible, and transparent decision-making and policy formulation at both national and international levels. These systems provide the necessary data that inform policies and strategies aimed at sustainable forest management and conservation.  

Continuous improvement of the quality, accessibility, and transparency of global data on forest resources is needed. This commitment to improvement and transparency in data sharing is crucial in ensuring sustainable forest management and conservation efforts are based on accurate and up-to-date information. 


Other related links:

-        GFOI Plenary 2023

-        GFOI Plenary 2023 - Day 2 Morning Session video: