A New Forest Data Partnership – for who?

RAN welcomes the announcement of the Forest Data Partnership––a new initiative being spearheaded by WRI, FAO, Google, Nasa, the US Government and Unilever. 

Collaboration to scale up forest monitoring is essential. We need transparent monitoring platforms that can monitor the world’s forests and natural ecosystems and trigger adequate responses by governments and supply chain actors when deforestation or conversion is identified. 

Monitoring systems must be underpinned by credible definitions and accurate and agreed data sets. Barriers such as the lack of disclosure of the boundaries of forest-risk commodity sourcing areas by the world’s biggest agricultural traders must be overcome.  

The success of the Forest Data Partnership will depend in part on consensus being built with civil society and Indigenous Peoples at the table alongside governments, the private sector and tech giants.

Could the Forest Data Partnership, be a tool in the biggest gamechanger in ending deforestation globally? It depends on what the data is used for. Most of the forested land left is indigenous cultural landscape.  Its primary purpose should not be to establish carbon markets. Rather, it should be used to secure land rights for Indigenous Peoples and forest communities.  It also should identify actions to support frontline communities who are defending their territories from industrial expansion of agriculture and forest-risk commodities.