Monitoreo forestal nacional

Unlocking Climate Finance: Samoa's Land Use Change Assessment Paves the Way


Apia, 25 May - The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE) of Samoa with technical support from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has successfully carried out a comprehensive assessment of the country’s Land Use and Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) using FAO's Open Foris Tools. This assessment, covering the period from 2001 to 2022, primarily utilized SEPAL and Collect Earth, two essential components of the Open Foris suite of tools. The assessment took place at the FAO Subregional Office for the Pacific Islands from 22 to 26 May.

The information gathered by nine MNRE officers through this assessment will play a pivotal role in the development of the country's first Forest Reference Level (FRL) report. The primary objective of this report is to enhance the nation's access to climate finance.

“We believe that robust and comprehensive LULUCF assessments are instrumental in understanding the complex dynamics of land use change and forestry activities,” noted Raushan Kumar, FAO’s Forestry Officer. By utilizing FAO's Open Foris Tools and conducting this assessment in collaboration with MNRE, we are equipping policymakers with accurate and timely data to make informed decisions for sustainable forest management and climate action.

“This assessment is very important to updating our forest cover for the country. It is a milestone for Samoa as this is the first time we are able to establish a National Forest Monitoring System (NFMS) and Forest Reference Level (FRL),” Susau Siolo, Principal Policy and Planning Officer for Samoa’s Forestry Division said. “The data from this assessment will not only allow us to access more climate financing when it is submitted to UNFCCC but we will also be able to use this data to update other reports (nationally and internationally). On behalf of MNRE, I wanted to extend a huge thanks to FAO for providing the technical support for us to do this work.”

Open Foris, a comprehensive set of tools developed by the FAO, has been instrumental in facilitating this important work. The SEPAL and Collect Earth applications have proven to be invaluable resources in analyzing land use and forestry data. SEPAL, which stands for System for Earth Observation Data Access, Processing, and Analysis for Land Monitoring, provides users with an intuitive platform to access and process satellite imagery for monitoring land cover dynamics. On the other hand, Collect Earth allows for the efficient collection of ground-based data using a user-friendly interface, facilitating the assessment of land use change on the field.

The significance of accurate and up-to-date forest data cannot be overstated. Forests play a crucial role in maintaining the health of our planet and are essential for mitigating climate change, conserving biodiversity, and ensuring sustainable development. Timely and reliable data on forest cover, land use change, and forestry activities is vital for effective policy-making, forest management, and the successful implementation of climate action plans.

By conducting the LULUCF assessment and leveraging the power of Open Foris Tools, the MNRE has demonstrated its commitment to evidence-based decision-making and sustainable environmental practices. The outcomes of this assessment will provide valuable insights into the current state of land use change, enabling policymakers to develop targeted strategies to preserve and enhance our forests.

The MNRE and FAO are confident that the forthcoming Forest Reference Level (FRL) Report, developed using the data collected through this assessment, will serve as a robust foundation for unlocking new avenues of climate finance for the country. Access to climate finance, such as the GEF and GCF, will enable the nation to implement innovative and impactful initiatives that combat deforestation, promote reforestation, and strengthen forest conservation efforts and build a robust green food system pathway.


For media inquiries, please contact:

Maryia Kukharava, International Communications Specialist, FAO Subregional Office for the Pacific Islands

Email: [email protected]