The Forest Data Partnership was launched at COP26 in 2021 by the World Resources Institute (WRI), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), USAID, the US Department of State, Google, NASA , and Unilever. The partnership seeks to develop a "consistent geospatial data ecosystem" that allows for accurate monitoring of forest loss and restoration .

Forest Data Partnership: Technologies and Participation

The Forest Data Partnership proposes to bring together remote sensing and machine learning technologies with cloud infrastructure to offer open-source, validated geospatial data on forests that governments, companies, NGOs , and communities can use to tackle deforestation and facilitate and verify restoration projects. The partnership involves SERVIR, a joint geospatial initiative between NASA , USAID, and geospatial organisations in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, Google as the provider of the Forest Data Partnership platform and other technologies, and Unilever as coordinator of private sector involvement.

Forest Data Partnership

A graphic of the Forest Data Partnership's approach to data. Image source: Forest Data Partnership [graphic]. Retrieved 16 May 2023, from https://www.forestdatapartnership.org/data-approach

In its current phase (launched at COP27 ), the Forest Data Partnership is inviting participation from companies involved in cocoa, palm oil, soy and cattle supply chains that risk contributing to forest loss, along with forest/natural resource management bodies, technology partners, local communities and NGOs in tropical regions. How will this ambitious project use data to engage (and potentially align) this diverse range of stakeholders, especially amidst context-specific tensions, differences, and uneven distributions of power between them? And does a "consistent data ecosystem" preclude a space for multiple, perhaps variably systematic knowledges?

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