Boosting transparency of forest data

NFMS assessment tool

The national forest monitoring system (NFMS) assessment tool has been developed to support countries with performing thorough capacity assessments of forest monitoring across three critical dimensions: institutional arrangements, measurement and estimation, and reporting and verification. This tool draws its foundation from the Voluntary guidelines on national forest monitoring of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), incorporates the resources of the REDDcompass from the Global Forest Observations Initiative (GFOI), and leverages FAO’s wealth of field experience in forest monitoring across diverse national contexts.

Why use the NFMS tool?

Establishing and operating a NFMS is a multifaceted endeavor that involves intricate scientific and technical aspects, as well as complex organizational and institutional challenges. It necessitates meticulous planning and the design of the scientific and technical components of the NFMS, alongside active support from government bodies and the various stakeholders engaged in the process. Frequently, a lack of institutional and individual capacity can hinder the long-term effectiveness of otherwise technically sound programs.

The NFMS assessment tool is designed to assist countries in enhancing their forest monitoring efforts by:

  • facilitating a better understanding of FAO’s Voluntary guidelines on national forest monitoring;
  • identifying needs, gaps and weaknesses, thereby enhancing the ability to focus a country’s efforts and
    investments effectively;
  • assisting in the organization of international cooperation and the development of a collaborative work plan
    with stakeholders and partners;
  • assessing progress in identifying capacity gaps in forest monitoring; and
  • promoting harmonization of processes to establish a stronger and more resilient NFMS.

Who should use it?

The NFMS assessment tool has been tailored for use by various entities, including government bodies responsible for forest monitoring, educational and research institutions, the public and private sectors, civil society and other key stakeholders.

How to use it?

The NFMS assessment tool provides an evaluation of an NFMS concerning key best practices, which are organized into three interrelated themes:

  1. institutional arrangements;
  2. measurement and estimation; and
  3. reporting and verification.

The NFMS assessment tool is an Excel-based resource, available in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish. It is accessible for free to all interested stakeholders, and it follows a five-step approach:

  • Step 1 – Select language and country: Users initiate the assessment by clicking “START” and then choosing their preferred language from the dropdown list on the second sheet. They also enter the country for which a capacity assessment is to be conducted, along with the assessment date.
  • Step 2 – Identify gaps and needs in institutional arrangements: The existing institutional capacities can be assessed by clicking the “Institutional arrangements” tab.
  • Step 3 – Identify gaps and needs in measurement and estimation: Users can assess elements of the NFMS related to preparation, implementation, and other technical and scientific aspects by clicking the “Measurement and estimation” tab.
  • Step 4 – Identify gaps and needs in reporting and verification: The evaluation on NFMS capacities associated with communication, dissemination, data documentation and reporting can be accessed by clicking the “Reporting and verification” tab.
  • Step 5 – View the results of the capacity assessment: The results of the assessment, including the identification of existing capacities and gaps, can be viewed by clicking the “Analysis” tab.
Access the tool
The tool has been developed under the project “Building global capacity to increase transparency in the forest sector (CBIT-Forest),” implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and funded by the Capacity-Building Initiative for Transparency (CBIT) trust fund of the Global Environment Facility (GEF).