Monitoreo forestal nacional

Learning to better address climate emergency

FAO launches the “Forest Monitoring for Climate Action” curriculum

On November 15, 2023, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) organized an interactive webinar to launch FAO's Forest Monitoring for Climate Action series of courses, emphasizing the pivotal role of innovative learning methods, and reliable and transparent forest data in combatting deforestation and contributing to climate action.


The webinar featured an impressive lineup of speakers, including Zhimin Wu, Director of the Forestry Division at FAO, Cristina Petracchi from the FAO eLearning Academy, and Rocio Condor and Julian Fox from the FAO's National Forest Monitoring (NFM) team.


The event also provided insights and future learning opportunities provided under the new AIM4Forests programme, shared by Ms. Fiona Stringer from the International Forests Unit of the UK. As well as Alejandra Guevara from FAO Ecuador and Jacob Amoako from the Ghana Forestry Commission, who shared their experiences with the courses and the usefulness to their work.


Of the almost 500 attendees at the webinar, the majority were government representatives (26%), NGOs and civil society (17%), and Universities or Research Centers (16%). 42% of the attendees were women and 22% belonged to an indigenous group. 43% of attendees were between 36-50 years old, the majority coming from Africa (44%), followed by Europe (20%) and Asia (15%) regions. 


Forest Monitoring for Climate Action series 

During the launch, Mr. Wu emphasized the importance of learning opportunities for forest monitoring.The forest monitoring series of courses to be launched today builds capacities in a range of institutional and technical skills. For instance, the 'Forest and Transparency under the Paris Agreement' teaches you how to produce reliable and transparent forest data to meet the reporting requirements under the Enhanced Transparency Framework of the Paris Agreement. The 'National Forest Inventory' series course helps to prepare for a national forest inventory based on statistical methods and planning and implementation principles. And the SEPAL course builds capacities to operationally apply high-resolution satellite imagery to critical forest and land monitoring in tropical forest countries, Mr. Wu affirmed. 


All the courses offer the opportunity to earn a digital badge certification and are designed to empower participants with the skills needed to contribute to halting deforestation, restoring ecosystems, and effectively managing forests. This educational initiative is a step forward in equipping learners to play their role in implementing nature-based solutions and fostering a more sustainable, data-driven approach to mitigate the impacts of climate change.  


“This moment in time happens to be a good moment to launch the Forest Monitoring for Climate Action curriculum. With the UNFCCC COP28 taking place in United Arab Emirates later this month, it is a good moment to join the 5,000 web learners who have taken these courses so far, and the 1,000 who earned their digital badge certification, and to ​explore together the various courses available to the public, free of charge, to shape a better nature-positive and data-driven tomorrow.” Mr. Wu concluded. 


Insights from the courses and country testimonials 

Rocio Condor presented in detail each of the courses from the series and their role in strengthening individual capacities in the countries FAO supports. She invited attendees to visit the dedicated website of the series Forest monitoring for climate action which now contains five courses, all self-paced, and that can be completed from 1 hour to 1 full day. The courses offered are: Forests and transparency under the Paris Agreement; Institutionalization of forest data; Sharing the "Forests and Transparency under the Paris Agreement" MOOC multilingual experience; Sharing the experience on “Forest and land monitoring for climate action – SEPAL” facilitated course; and National forest inventory. A new course on 'Measurement, reporting and verification for environmental integrity' will be added soon to the series. 



The webinar also provided a platform for professionals to share testimonials about their experiences with the series and their practical relevance in their professional life. Alejandra Guevara, a climate change mitigation specialist from FAO Ecuador, shared her positive experiences with two courses—'Forest and Transparency under the Paris Agreement' and 'Forest and Land Monitoring for Climate Action, SEPAL.' She emphasized the practical relevance of the courses in understanding the importance of reliable and transparent forest data for compliance with international commitments. 


Jacob Amoako, from the Forestry Commission of Ghana, discussed the insights gained from the 'Institutionalization of Forest Data' course. He highlighted the critical gaps in their national forest monitoring system, shedding light on the need for legal and institutional clarity, transparent data sharing, and sustainability plans for data utilization. 


AIM4Forests and future learning opportunities: If you can't measure it, you can't manage it 

Fiona Stringer delved into the Accelerating Innovative Monitoring for Forests (AIM4Forests programme), a FAO-UK five-year global initiative aimed at supporting forest monitoring through modern technologies and technical innovation. The program seeks to address technical and institutional gaps and enhance country data for decision making and for access to climate finance, as well as developing specific learning material and platforms forIndigenous Peoples. 


Some of the specific innovations of AIM4Forests include the continued strengthening of FAO's digital public goods, such as the SEPAL cloud computing platform, and leveraging the UK's Research and Development on remote sensing and space data. It includes the development and application of innovative learning approaches, such as the online facilitated courses and self-paced e-learning opportunities which we have presented and discussed today, Fiona stressed.  


But not only the UK has contributed, FAO has also partnered in recent years with the Global Environment Facility, and the Norway's International Climate and Forest Initiative to make these free courses available to a broad interested audience. 


Q&A session and closing remarks 

The interactive Q&A session addressed queries related to forest monitoring tools, geospatial industry knowledge requirements, and the accessibility of digital badges in different languages. 


The closing remarks by Julian Fox, Team Leader of the NFM team, emphasized the transformative power of better data in decision-making, fostering inclusivity, and supporting governments in raising their ambitions for forest protection. Julian highlighted that as governments improve data on their forests and build national forest monitoring systems, they make more informed decisions, ultimately improving forest management, restoration efforts, and reducing deforestation. He underscored FAO's commitment to inclusivity, providing eLearning courses that empower women and other stakeholders to build capacity and professional careers in forestry.  


Not only helping the governments, as I said, building sustainable systems, making better decisions, and raising country ambitions, but helping all stakeholders in countries access courses and build their own capacity and professional careers. One great thing I love about the eLearning course is that they enable inclusivity, Julian stated. 


The Forest Monitoring for Climate Action webinar showcased FAO's commitment to creating a more transparent and inclusive approach to forest monitoring. The success of this event reflects a shared commitment to climate action and a brighter future for global forests. 


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