Improving the transparency of forest-related data and information is key to sustainably manage, use, and protect the world’s forests.
The authors from FAO's Forestry Division explain how the FRA platform facilitates access to forest-related data at global, regional, and country level.
The platform makes available a wealth of information on forests for the first time in all six official UN languages.
By Rocío Cóndor-Golec, Örjan Jonsson, Sara Maulo, Anssi Pekkarinen, and Cosimo Togna
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) is unveiling the language adaptations of our innovative open data platform on forests. First launched in English in July 2020, and recently translated in Arabic, Chinese, French, Spanish and Russian, the platform aims to bolster global efforts to tackle climate change, halt deforestation, and increase sustainable forest management.
Building on the Global Forest Resources Assessment
The platform features data and metadata reported to FAO’s Global Forest Resources Assessment (FRA) 2020. FRA supports countries in reporting to the main forest-related processes, including the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), UN Forum on Forests (UNFF) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
FRA is the world’s most comprehensive source of forest resources information. FRA 2020 examines the status and trends, management and uses of forest resources over the period 1990–2020, focusing on 60 broad variables for 236 countries and territories.
These data are reported to FAO by National Correspondents, national experts officially nominated by the countries to coordinate compilation of data from different national sources. The National Correspondents network covers 187 countries and territories, which together contain 99.5% of the world’s forests.
FAO trains the National Correspondents on how to compile country reports using agreed terms and definitions and a standardized reporting methodology. This process is crucial for consistent reporting across countries.
The results of the assessment are offered to the public in a number of formats, including a report with all the details and a summary digital report, which are also available in all the six official UN languages, as well as a report with key findings.
Making Forest Information Easier to Use
The FRA reporting and dissemination platform was produced with the assistance of the European Union, the Government of Finland, the Government of Norway and the Global Environment Facility (GEF). With the open, user-friendly platform, users can visualize FRA data using dashboards and interact with the complete dataset from the most recent global forest resources assessment. The platform provides access to:
- 236 country reports containing original data and metadata;
- statistical summaries at country, regional, global levels as well as for custom groupings;
- an interface to select and export data in a non-proprietary format (.csv); and
- analysis tables for selected variables in ready-to-use format.
Leveraging Forests’ Potential in Sustainable Development and Climate Action
Forests are central to achieving both SDG 13 (climate action) and SDG 15 (life on land). Transparent and accurate information on the world’s forests is essential to meeting such international commitments.
Forest-related data are the basis for countries’ reporting to the Paris Agreement on their emissions and removals, and help track progress towards the country’s targets, also known as nationally determined contributions (NDCs). This information sharing under the Paris Agreement is regulated by the enhanced transparency framework (ETF), which aims at promoting mutual trust between the countries.
To learn more about the importance of forest-related data collection, analysis and dissemination in meeting ETF requirements, an e-Learning course is available in Chinese, English, French, and Spanish.
It is our hope that the open platform and its availability in several languages will help all stakeholders to leverage the potential of the world’s forests for sustainable development and climate action.
This article was authored by Rocío Cóndor-Golec, Örjan Jonsson, Sara Maulo, Anssi Pekkarinen and Cosimo Togna from the Forestry Division of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).