National Forest Monitoring

2022 Living Planet Symposium: Earth observation and all things SEPAL


Inge Jonckheere speaking at the plenary session “The global climate: a status update”

One of the largest earth observation events in the world took place from 23-27 May in Bonn, Germany.  An event the FAO Forestry Division could not miss, the fifth edition of the Living Planet Symposium 2022 (LPS22) brought together over 5000 scientists and researchers to discuss the latest findings on earth science and present advances in earth observation technologies. Participants had the opportunity to share their work, network with fellow experts, and even interact with actual astronauts. Notably, this international forum explored the role remote sensing technology will play in creating a more resilient, sustainable future for all.

FAO Forestry experts contributed to achieving LPS22 objectives through their participation in numerous sessions that detailed experiences using earth observation technologies and tools for land monitoring and climate change. In particular, SEPAL, the FAO-developed "System for Earth Observation Data Access, Processing, and Analysis for Land Monitoring", and its application were featured in panel discussions, classrooms and technical sessions.  

One of the main sessions, in which the FAO delegation participated, was on the topic of FAO and the European State Agency (ESA) Partnership. Colleagues from the FAO Statistics, Land and Water, and Forestry Divisions shared joint activities planned between 2021-2023, within the framework of the FAO-ESA Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). These include scaling-up solutions, related to the use of earth observation, for producing food and agriculture statistics, and supporting countries in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

During a panel discussion, Erik Lindquist, FAO Forestry Officer, shared a concrete example of how the collaboration between FAO, ESA, Norway's International Climate and Forestry Initiative (NICFI), and Planet are democratizing access to data, algorithms, and computing power for improved land monitoring and decision-making through the SEPAL platform.