Measures to finance sustainable forest management (SFM) and mobilize investment for forests form an essential component of facilitating achievement of the UN Strategic Plan for Forests (UNSPF) and the Global Forest Goals (GFGs) and targets. Forest financing is also a major factor for effective post-pandemic recovery.
The first session on Wednesday discussed Means of Implementation, including operations of the Global Forest Financing Facilitation Network (G3FN). The meeting saw the launch of the much-anticipated Clearing House on Forest Financing (forest-finance.un.org), comprising three databases on financing opportunities, learning materials, and lessons learned on forest financing.
Forum members lauded the Clearing House, noting its potential for mobilizing SFM initiatives and strengthening implementation of the UNSPF. They also called for more focus on dryland forests and enhancing access to financing for small island developing states.
The meeting also considered Monitoring, Assessment and Reporting, with the second session featuring presentations on the 2020 Global Forest Resources Assessment (FRA), and the global core set of forest related indicators.
Tiina Vahanen, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), presented the process of the 2020 FRA production and reported on regional workshops to develop capacity on standard formats. She also highlighted an online reporting platform, which gives access to external data sources, latest satellite images, and other geospatial data.
Participants exchanged views on the recommendations in in the report, which includes data from 52 countries that submitted Voluntary National Reports (VNRs). There were differing opinions on the usefulness of a workshop to further work on indicators. The European Union, supported by several others, underscored the need for wide dissemination of the report and subsequent evaluation, before committing to a developing a new report.
Following the launch of the UNFF Flagship Publication, “The Global Forest Goals Report 2021,” on Monday, Forum members took time to reflect on lessons learned in the reporting cycle. Streamlining reporting, as some noted, requires clarity on definitions, indicators, and methodologies. However, many expressed doubts on the need to strengthen “difficult indicators” where data is scarce or unavailable. Debating ways of triggering larger number of VNRs in the next cycle, some highlighted the need for capacity building.