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Representatives from 14 Caribbean countries and forestry experts from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the US Forest Service met this week for the Global Forest Resources Assessment (FRA) 2025 sub-regional workshop for the Caribbean in Bridgetown, Barbados, at the premises of the United Nations House. 

The FAO sub-regional office supported the organization of the meeting and Ms Renata Clarke, Sub regional coordinator for the Caribbean FAO, opened the workshop, which is the first of a series of regional and sub-regional workshops organized as part of the FRA data collection and review 2025 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.

FAO has been conducting global forest resources assessments since 1948 and its content has evolved over time to adapt to changing needs of society. To learn more about the FRA process watch this video.

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. Yet, despite their importance, forest stakeholders feel that forests are not sufficiently recognized by policy makers, their existence is taken for granted but little is done to preserve them. “Governments should see forests as a priority”, said Mr Anthony Jeremiah, National Correspondent for Grenada.

For this 3-day technical session, FRA National Correspondents gathered from Antigua and Barbuda, 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.

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. There was also the opportunity to discuss in working groups any problems and country-specific issues related to the use of the online platform and preparing the FRA 2025 country reports. Every 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.

Photo caption: Participants in the Global Forest Resources Assessment 2023

Source: Food and Agriculture Organisation

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