FAO Regional Office for Near East and North Africa

Strengthening forest reporting for a greener, more sustainable future in the Near East and North Africa region



29 May 2023, Amman/Jordan - Representatives from countries in the Near East and North Africa gather this week in Amman, Jordan, for a four-day workshop organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) for the compilation of crucial forest data estimates for the Global Forest Resources Assessment (FRA 2025).

The Near East and North Africa regional workshop will contribute to improving the quality and consistency of the data reported to FRA 2025. By presenting transparent, reliable and comprehensive overviews, FRA will equip stakeholders to make informed decisions that impact forests and their sustainable management.

The workshop has been opened today by Her Royal Highness Basma bint Ali, in her role as FAO Goodwill Ambassador for Near East and North Africa, and His Excellency Eng. Khalid Hnaifat, the Minister of Agriculture in Jordan, at the presence of FAO Representative in Jordan, Eng. Nabil Assaf.

Around 15 forest experts officially nominated by their countries joined from Algeria, Bahrein, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Tunisia to improve reporting on forest data, understanding FRA 2025 terms and definitions, guidelines, and the effective use of the dedicated online platform for compiling their country reports.

This workshop will provide an opportunity for the national correspondents to review and update the previous reports to ensure that data is as complete, consistent and transparent as possible and to improve the quality and reliability of the FRA 2025 estimates. The participants will test innovations, such as geospatial tools, and will also have the opportunity to address specific problems of the region and benefit from the experiences of other countries.

Data and knowledge for a greener, more sustainable future

FAO has been conducting periodic assessments of forest resources at the request of its Members Countries. These assessments serve as a vital tool for improving our understanding of the world’s forest resources, conditions, management and uses. “Together, we have the power to make a significant impact on the preservation and sustainable management of our forests. Let us seize this opportunity to exchange knowledge, build partnerships, and pave the way for a greener, more sustainable future”, H.R.H. Princess Basma bint Ali said in her opening.

H.E Eng. Khalid Hnaifat, the Minister of Agriculture in Jordan emphasized “the importance of international cooperation in addressing the global challenges facing our forests. We are committed to actively participating in regional and international initiatives that promote knowledge exchange, capacity building, and collaborative action. By working together, we can tackle issues such as illegal logging, forest degradation, and the loss of biodiversity, ensuring a sustainable future for our forests.”

FAO Representative in Jordan, Eng. Nabil Assaf said that “FRA, in collaboration with other partners, work to reduce overlaps in the data collection and the reporting burden on countries, minimizing the duplication, and increasing the quality and consistency of the reported data.”

FAO’s FRA is the official source of data for the two global indicators of Sustainable Development Goal 15 and provides important data for monitoring forest cover change and other parameters that will help assess progress towards the climate targets and those of the UN Strategic Plan on Forests.

FRA offers a wealth of information that provides a holistic perspective on the world's forests and the transformations they undergo. The latest assessment, FRA 2020, examines the status of, and trends in more than 60 forest-related variables in 236 countries and territories in the period 1990–2020. This extensive dataset enables the formulation of well-informed policies, implementation of effective practices, and strategic investments in the field of forestry.

In March 2023, FAO launched a strategy for FRA 2025 capacity development and data collection, marked by a series of regional workshops to provide technical assistance and guidance to the national correspondents. In addition, these meetings serve as a valuable forum to exchange information and good practices. FRA 2025 reporting and data collection process will be completed by the end of 2023, followed by the data analysis and preparation of the official FRA 2025 publication and other products.

The Near East and North Africa regional workshop was funded by the European Union which has been supporting the development of FRA 2025.