How open data platforms help forest actors boost climate action

How open data platforms help forest actors boost climate action



  • Open access to global forest data is critical for saving the world’s forest systems and forest monitoring practitioners can integrate information into climate policies.
  • The project targeted an existing global network of National Correspondents for the Global Forest Resources Assessment (FRA) 2020 from at least 187 countries and territories.
  • The project collected lessons from supporting national governments in Côte d’Ivoire, Honduras, Guatemala, Uganda, Thailand, Brazil, and Laos in developing in enhancing the usability of global forest-related data in support of the transparency requirements of the Paris Agreement.

About CBIT-Forest project


Forests play a fundamental and multi-functional role in meeting the global objectives of the Paris Agreement. They contribute significantly to climate change mitigation through their carbon sink and carbon storage functions.

Forests also reduce vulnerability and enhance the capacity of people and ecosystems to adapt to climate change and climate variability, as well as the negative associated impacts which are becoming increasingly evident in many parts of the world.

In order to support the capacity development of countries, and to promote environmental integrity, transparency, accuracy, completeness, comparability, and consistency of forest data, the CBIT-Forest project was launched at the end of 2019.

Building global capacity to increase transparency in the forest sector (CBIT-Forest) is a project led by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and financed by the Capacity-building Initiative for Transparency (CBIT) trust fund of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) aimed to strengthen the institutional and technical capacities of developing countries to collect, analyze and disseminate forest data.


fores open-data platform
According to United Nations, forests currently store more than 1 trillion tonnes of carbon. Photo credit: Roman Odintsov.



Forest open data impact


The CBIT-Forest project supported the free flow and sharing of knowledge and information through the already existing knowledge networks, including the CBIT Coordination Platform and the Global Forest Observations Initiative (GFOI) through three components:

  • Boosting countries’ institutional capacity by scaling up knowledge exchanges and raising awareness of the importance of forest-related data;
  • Increasing countries’ technical capacity: for data collection, analysis, and dissemination of forest-related data; and
  • Enhancing knowledge sharing to improve coordination and cooperation.



Lessons forest monitoring practitioners can take from open data


  1. Sharing openly can provide valuable time to build climate resilience: Improved data availability combined with transparency can catalyze more collaborative solutions to the climate crisis.
  2. Climate policies need up-to-date and integrated information: Data sets can be shared at an unprecedented speed thanks to the recent developments in Big Data and Machine Learning technologies, which are currently being generally adopted in forestry and environmental fields.
  3. Public money means public information: National forest data is primarily collected through taxpayer finances, either through national or international cooperation funds. Greater public financing data enhance public trust and greater opportunities for investors and researchers.
  4. Overcoming obstacles to sharing: Open forest data can accelerate decision processes but can also introduce vulnerabilities such as illegal logging or control of data. Countries need more incentives for transparency and donors could play a role along.
  5. A lack of data-hosting infrastructure is a deterrent to countries’ open data: Country-based IT technicians and supervisors should receive capacity building for developing and maintaining these platforms independently.
  6. Institutional, forest, and legal expertise: Comprehensive legal arrangements will greatly contribute to the creation of clear, well-structured open, and transparent sharing of forest data.


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Discover the State of the world’s forests in 2022 🌳



Author: FAO

Publisher: FAO

Language: English

Year: 2022

Ecosystem(s): Forests

Location(s): Côte d’Ivoire, Guatemala, Honduras, Laos, Thailand, Uganda