International Day of Forests

Hybrid event: How innovation is driving change in forestry

Thursday 21 March 2024, 13.00-18.00 (UTC +1), FAO headquarters (Sheikh Zayed Centre)

Join us for this hybrid series of technical sessions to find out about some of the outstanding innovations that are helping to protect forests and unlock the many benefits they bring.

Innovation and technology are revolutionizing the way we protect and use forests as the world faces unprecedented challenges threatening human well-being and nature. New solutions are transforming forestry, allowing more accurate mapping and monitoring, empowering Indigenous Peoples to be the guardians of forests, promoting ecosystem restoration and driving the development of more sustainable wood and forest products.

Watch the webcast or join the Zoom webinar. Interpretation will be provided in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Spanish and Russian.


Master of Ceremonies: Julian Fox, Senior Forestry Officer and team leader, Forest Monitoring and Data Platforms

13.00-13.30 Opening

  • Opening remarks from Zhimin Wu, NFO Director, FAO 
  • Video remarks from The Rt. Hon. Graham Stuart, Minister for Energy Security and Net Zero, United Kingdom 
  • Launch of the International Day of Forests video
  • Welcome remarks from Rebecca Moore, Director, Google Earth
  • Launch of “Open Foris Ground” application 
  • Signing of the Google-FAO Memorandum of Understanding (Zhimin Wu, NFO Director and Rebecca Moore, Director, Google Earth)

13.30-14.30 Innovation and technology have transformed countries’ ability to monitor and report on their forests 

Keynote speaker: Marieke Sandker, FAO Forestry Officer
Moderator: Till Neeff, FAO Forestry Officer 


  • Marieke Sandker, FAO Forestry Officer
  • Roselyn Adjei, Forestry Commission of Ghana
  • Fiona Stringer, International Forests Unit, United Kingdom
  • Daniel Irwin, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)-SERVIR
  • Ellen Bruzelius Backer, Norway International Climate and Forest Initiative
  • Luisa Teixeira, Planet 

14.30-15.30 Innovation is advancing ecosystem restoration as a powerful nature-based solution to multiple global challenges

Keynote speaker: Tom Crowther, Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich (ETH)
Moderator: Khalil Walji, The Center for International Forestry Research and World Agroforestry (CIFOR-ICRAF)


  • Tom Crowther, Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich (ETH)
  • Yelena Finegold, FAO Forestry Officer       
  • Chetan Kumar, International Union for the Conservation of Nature(IUCN)       
  • Adrien Leitoro, Nature and People as One       
  • Fabiola Zerbini, Brazilian National Secretariat for Biodiversity, Forests and Animal Rights

16.00-17.00 Technological innovations can empower Indigenous Peoples through mapping and securing customary land 

Keynote speaker: Ramesh Sharma, Ekta Parishad
Moderator: Eva Hershaw, International Land Coalition (ILC/IFAD)


  • Ramesh Sharma, Ekta Parishad
  • Tania Eulalia Martinez Cruz, Land is Life
  • Jessica Webb, World Resources Institute
  • Maria Paula Rizzo, FAO Land Tenure and Indigenous Peoples Specialist

17.00-18.00 New technological innovations are needed to halt deforestation and forest degradation

Keynote speaker: René Colditz, Joint Research Centre, European Commission – EU Observatory on Deforestation and Forest Degradation
Moderator: Laura Vary, World Resources Institute


  • Elke Sümnick-Matthaei, SAFE
  • Roselyn Adjei, Forestry Commission of Ghana
  • Nicholas Clinton, Google
  • Michaela Foster, European Forest Institute
  • Mikaela Weisse, World Resources Institute
  • Rémi d’Annunzio, FAO Forestry Officer