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FAO launches new framework to measure progress on ecosystem restoration

The FAO-led framework will allow monitoring and reporting of restoration efforts throughout the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration

A new framework designed to monitor and report on the progress of restoration efforts throughout the duration of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration has been launched by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

The Framework for Ecosystem Restoration Monitoring (FERM) will provide access to key restoration data and tools for monitoring restoration progress, as well as supporting countries and practitioners with technical assistance on ecosystem restoration and improving their monitoring and reporting processes. The framework was officially launched at the XV World Forestry Congress in Seoul, Republic of Korea, by the FAO-led Monitoring Taskforce supporting the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.

“Countries have committed to restoring up to 1 billion hectares of land - an area roughly the size of China – for the Decade, and this framework will ensure that we can monitor progress in a transparent way,” said FAO Senior Forestry Officer Julian Fox.

“In addition to transparent monitoring, we hope to catalyze a science-based restoration movement using the latest technology for delivering fit-for-purpose information for planning and monitoring restoration actions on the ground.”

The framework includes several online tools to collate and analyse data on ecosystem restoration progress around the globe, ensuring technology and innovation can catalyse restoration action on the ground, with the aim of strengthening knowledge and partnerships in the restoration monitoring community.

FERM platform

Built on the architecture of FAO’s Hand-In-Hand geospatial platform, the provides freely accessible geospatial data to track ecosystem restoration in the context of soil, water, vegetation, and other socio-economic factors.

The FERM platform enables individuals, communities, and countries to add their own restoration information and monitor their own progress through the platform’s basic and advanced monitoring tools. Further, the platform provides access to innovative tools developed in FAO’s SEPAL platform and in the future will enable stakeholders to share their project information, contributing to the overall monitoring of the progress of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.

The FERM platform is complemented by the FERM registry, which provides restoration practitioners a standardized data collection form for restoration projects and allows easy sharing of restoration project data through linkages to  the FERM platform. It helps users to define the geographic scope of their restoration project, the various ecosystem restoration goals and activities implemented and the most useful biophysical and socio-economic indicators for monitoring progress. In order to easily and transparently monitor and report on the status of restoration goals,  20 headline indicators have been identified, through an extensive consultative process, from the Sustainable Development Goals, which are available in the FERM platform. Furthermore, the FERM dashboard, which is currently in development, will allow users to visualise progress in global restoration efforts using the headline indicators.

UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration

The UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration promotes the protection and revival of ecosystems all around the world, for the benefit of people and nature. It aims to halt the degradation of ecosystems and help restore them to achieve global goals. The UN Decade runs from 2021 through 2030, which is also the deadline for the Sustainable Development Goals and the timeline scientists have identified as the last chance to prevent catastrophic climate change.

The FAO-led Monitoring Taskforce established in support to the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration involves experts from over 100 organisations and serves as focal point for providing technical guidance and assistance on restoration monitoring for the UN Decade. It aims to foster collaboration between conventions, frameworks, and emerging monitoring initiatives, and identify knowledge and areas of critical importance to restoration monitoring which require further research and development.

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This article was originally published on the FAO Forestry Newsroom: