REPRESENTATIVES from 14 Caribbean countries and forestry experts from the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) and the US Forest Service met last week for the Global Forest Resources Assessment (FRA) 2025 sub-regional workshop for the Caribbean in Bridgetown, Barbados.
Sub-regional coordinator for the Caribbean, FAO Renata Clarke opened the workshop which is the first in a series of regional and sub-regional workshops organised as part of the FRA 2025 data collection and review process.
“During these meetings FAO experts focus on providing technical assistance and guidance to the officially nominated national correspondents on how to compile the FRA 2025 country reports with national data and information on national forest resources. This exercise aims to contribute to the improvement of the quality and consistency of the reported data to ensure that the best-possible data and information are provided in terms of completeness, consistency and transparency,” a release from the FAO stated.
Since 1948 the FAO has conducted global forest resources assessments, even as its content changes over time to adapt to changing needs of society. Forests in the Caribbean play an important role in soil conservation and provision of potable water, carbon sequestration, conservation of biodiversity, and supporting livelihood with wood and non-wood products and ecotourism opportunities.
However, despite the importance of forests being highlighted, stakeholders are of the view that forests are not sufficiently accounted for by policymakers, and their existence taken for granted. Thus, little is done to preserve them.
“Governments should see forests as a priority,” said Anthony Jeremiah, national correspondent for Grenada.
FRA national correspondents from Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Puerto Rico, and US Virgin Islands gathered in Bridgetown for the three-day technical session,
They had the opportunity to review pre-filled FRA 2020 data and update the FRA 2025 reports to ensure that data and metadata are as complete, consistent, and transparent as possible and to improve the quality and reliability of the FRA 2025 estimates. They also participated in working group discussions on problems and country-specific issues related to the use of the online platform and preparing the FRA 2025 country reports.
Each country discussed the status of its report, pointing out questions regarding the data submission.
On the second day participants visited an area with evident land use change and natural regeneration of forests caused by the sugar industry decline.
The workshop has been funded by the European Union, which has been supporting the development of FRAs since 2010.