Boosting transparency of forest data

FAO Forest Monitoring Tools and Learning Materials Now Available in Arabic


Forests in arid and semiarid lands, such as those found in many Arabic-speaking countries, provide vital environmental goods and services. They help prevent desertification, mitigate climate change and act as a source of food, energy and livelihoods. In many places around the world, forests also have religious and cultural significance. Many Middle Eastern or Near Eastern countries have low forest cover to begin with, making the protection of forest resources even more vital in these regions.

However, deforestation rates around the world remain high,  estimated at 10 million hectares per year (2015-2020), according to the Global Forest Resources Assessment (FRA) 2020. The FRA is a report compiled by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations based on official country data. Halting deforestation and restoring forest ecosystems requires forest-positive policies and sustainable management plans, such as those promoted by international climate commitments, including the Paris Agreement. But developing the policies and practices needed to halt deforestation requires reliable, transparent information collected by National Forest Monitoring Systems (NFMS). The information provided by the collection, analysis and dissemination of forest data informs policy and management at the subnational, national, regional and even global levels.

For decades, FAO has supported countries in their forest monitoring efforts. The project “Building global capacity to increase transparency in the forest sector” (CBIT-Forest) was designed to strengthen capacities of developing countries to meet the enhanced transparency requirements of Article 13 of the Paris Agreement. Developed by FAO, with financial support from the Capacity-building Initiative for Transparency (CBIT) trust fund of the Global Environment Facility, the project implements institutional and technical capacity boosting activities and produces knowledge sharing products. These products and activities support global and national collection, analysis and dissemination of forest-related data.

A two-year project, CBIT-Forest targets the existing global network of National Correspondents, for the FRA 2020, from more than 185 countries and territories. With the global scale of this project, many of the publications and learning materials are available in multiple languages, including Arabic. The CBIT-Forest products available in Arabic include the FAO elearning course, “Forests and Transparency under the Paris Agreement,” the National Forest Monitoring System (NFMS) Assessment Tool and the related quick guidance.

FAO elearning Academy Course

The course, “Forests and Transparency under the Paris Agreement,” was developed to make learning about the Enhanced Transparency Framework (ETF) under the Paris Agreement more accessible. The free, online course provides an introduction to the ETF and the describes the importance of the Paris Agreement. It also explains how NFMS, and the collection, analysis and dissemination of forest-related data can help countries meet international reporting requirements. The three-part course grants users with a digital badge certification upon completion.

Explore the course here.

National Forest Monitoring System Assessment Tool

The NFMS Assessment Tool helps governments and other stakeholders identify needs and gaps to establish or strengthen their forest monitoring systems. It functions by analyzing institutional dynamics, strengths, weaknesses and opportunities to improve NFMS. The Excel-based tool also presents good guidance and examples that fall within three themes—institutional arrangements, measurement and estimation, and reporting and verification. In the last year, the NFMS tool has been implemented in 6 pilot CBIT-Forest countries (Cote d'lvoire, Guatemala, Honduras, Laos, Thailand and Uganda).

Download the Assessment Tool here.

National Forest Monitoring System Assessment Tool: Quick Guidance

To complement the National Forest Monitoring Assessment Tool, FAO developed the Quick Guidance, which provides an overview of the tool’s objectives, target users and overall structure. It was designed to guide new users through the assessment process and includes pictures of each step in the assessment. According to the guidance, the NFMS assessment tool follows a five-step procedure: 1.) Select language and the country for which an assessment will be carried out; 2.) Identify gaps and needs in institutional arrangements; 3.) Identify gaps and needs in measurement and estimation; 4.) Identify gaps and needs in reporting and verification; and 5.) View the results of the capacity assessment. Overall, the quick guidance makes the NFMS tool easier to use and more accessible. 

Read through the quick guidance here