25 September 2013: The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) has launched a website on the voluntary guidelines on national forest monitoring. The site contains a draft version of the first two sections of the guidelines, a brochure and contact information.
The voluntary guidelines will present good practice case studies, and methods and tools for long-term forest monitoring systems. The two sections available for comment cover: rationale and definitions for forest monitoring, sustainability indicators; and the principles guiding national forest monitoring. In particular, the draft identifies three roles for forest monitoring: to support adaptive management for forests and forest policies; to inform forest stakeholders of status and trends; and to facilitate international negotiations and reporting processes.
The draft sections also present key information that should be provided through forest monitoring including: the extent and location of forests; threats and changes in status and trends; forest uses, users and benefits; relationships between different drivers of change; and the accuracy of estimates.
FAO notes that in the Cancún Agreements adopted in 2016, parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) explicitly recommend that national forest monitoring systems be established to monitor and report REDD+ activities.
The website outlines the process for contributing to the voluntary guidelines including consultations and technical workshops. All information is available in English, French and Spanish. [Voluntary Guidelines on National Forest Monitoring Webpage] [Publication: Draft Version for Discussion of Sections I and II of the Voluntary Guidelines]