The Global Forest Observations Initiative (GFOI) launched a portal – the first such comprehensive platform – to track international capacity development support to developing countries in forest monitoring for climate action.
The portal – the GFOI Inventory of Activities – is a one-stop shop with easy-to-access information on more than 400 forest monitoring activities in 70 developing countries across Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean. Users can search for information by country or region, by type of forest monitoring activities, and by donors.
“Collecting and disseminating better information on forests is vital for countries and the international community’s efforts to take targeted and effective action on climate change,” said Hiroto Mitsugi, FAO Assistant Director-General for Forestry.
The portal will help governments and donors identify gaps, share resources, avoid overlaps and explore opportunities for new partnerships to better address the challenges countries face as they develop their National Forest Monitoring Systems.
The portal is a milestone in the GFOI partnership. It was designed and populated by the partners leading the initiative including: Australia, Germany, Norway, the United Kingdom, the United States’ SilvaCarbon Programme, the International Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS), the European Space Agency (ESA), FAO and the World Bank. The platform will be maintained by the GFOI Office, hosted by FAO, with funding from Australia and Norway.
The portal displays information from the world’s leading forest monitoring development partners, including national governments, development practitioners, space agencies and forestry experts.
It is an example of successful collaboration and open information sharing, which is essential in an era of global climate change as big geospatial data and other diverse and usable information becomes increasingly available.
Why is forest monitoring important?
Countries face mounting pressures to deliver up-to-date and transparent information on forests and greenhouse gas emissions that meet internationally established goals and targets, including those established by the Paris Agreement on climate change and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, especially the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular SDG 13 and 15.
Developing countries are working to build national forest monitoring systems that integrate the latest technologies in remote sensing and ground-based observations to monitor changes in the extent and condition of forests.
Tropical deforestation and forest degradation make a significant contribution to climate change. According to the IPCC Climate Change and Land Report (August 2019), forestry and land use accounts for about 13 percent of the total net human-induced Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions. Most of these emissions result from deforestation and forest degradation.
However, afforestation, sustainable forest management and reducing deforestation make forests one of the most cost-effective and immediate solutions to curb climate change as forests remove large amounts of carbon from the atmosphere as they grow.