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FAO and Finland Scale up Technical Innovation to help African Countries Better Monitor and Manage Forest Resources

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FAO and Finland Scale up Technical Innovation to help African Countries Better Monitor and Manage Forest Resources

With a focus on empowering women in Africa, this project will bring our expertise and tools where they are needed most.

ROME, Italy, January 10, 2022 / APO Group / –

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and Finland signed an agreement today to improve countries’ capacities in managing data and forest resources, especially in Africa. The $ 7 million multi-donor project will be jointly implemented by FAO’s Global Forest Resources Assessment and National Forest Monitoring teams over a four-year period, with an initial contribution of $ 2.3 million provided by Finland.

Through this new partnership, FAO and Finland will come together to help countries produce and disseminate better information and thus contribute to better decision-making at different levels.

FAO Deputy Director-General Maria Helena Semedo said: “This important collaboration with Finland will help increase capacities for innovative and accurate forest monitoring. With a focus on empowering women in Africa, this project will bring our expertise and tools where they are needed most. ”

“Finland has more than 100 years of tradition and experience in forest assessment and monitoring. We are excited to partner with FAO and offer our Nordic knowledge. This is a great opportunity to contribute to halting and reversing forest loss and land degradation by 2030, ”said Ville Skinnari, Finnish Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade.

Make forestry more sustainable and resilient

Forests are sources of energy, food, income, and provide important services, such as mitigating climate change, protecting soil and water resources. Forest ecosystems are of vital importance to rural livelihoods, especially in developing countries.

Finland’s new contribution will support comprehensive and inclusive capacity building activities and equitable access to training events, tools and materials. In particular, capacity development activities will focus on Africa, emphasizing the participation of women. It will also allow the provision of tools and techniques that allow countries to collect and analyze updated information on their forest resources, as well as report on them to national and international processes and conventions in a transparent and annual manner.

The ultimate goal of the project is to support the achievement of the goals of the United Nations Strategic Plan for Forests 2017-2030 and the SDGs related to forests. More specifically, the project will help reduce deforestation and forest degradation by promoting and facilitating the sustainable management and use of forests, which will result in greater economic, social and environmental benefits.

The project will support the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use announced at the UN Climate Conference COP26 last November, to which Finland is a signatory. Backed by more than 140 countries representing more than 90 percent of the world’s forests, the Declaration commits its parties to cooperate together to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030. The Declaration was launched in the World Summit of Leaders ‘Action on Forests and Land Use’, and was seen as an important step forward in the fight against the loss of tropical forests and climate change.

FAO’s work in forestry

The Global Forest Resources Assessment (FRA) is the most authoritative and comprehensive assessment of forests and forestry. The latest of these assessments (FRA 2020) contains detailed regional and global analyzes of 236 countries and territories to meet the needs of various stakeholders: public and private sectors, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), media, academia, etc.

FRA is based on the official statistics of the country. However, in less developed countries, the data is sometimes out of date and obtained using inconsistent methodologies. FAO’s National Forest Monitoring (NFM) initiative helps countries produce quality up-to-date information on forest resources in more than 50 countries, one third of which are in Africa. The objective is to develop modern, transparent, reliable and accessible National Forest Monitoring Systems, through the provision of free and open source tools for the collection of updated and reliable forest resource data using remote sensing and field inventories.

One of the most important NFM instruments is FAO’s Open Forums Initiative, which was launched in 2009 with financial support from the Government of Finland. It provides open source digital public goods, which are widely used for forest and land monitoring applications. Over the years, Open Foris has had more than 30,000 users in 180 countries and helps stakeholders to obtain more detailed information about forests and natural resources in a more efficient way.

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