Welcome to the development of 2022 Science-i Whitepaper entitled Empower the under-represented for forests and climate action
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Title: Empower the under-represented for forests and climate action
Although many scientific communities across the world are improving their diversity, equity, and inclusion, forest science continues to struggle with workforce diversity. To address this disparity, we organized Science-i Global Webinar Series 2022 and invited global audiences to join our guest speakers from the Amazon Web Services, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, National Indian Carbon Coalition, SilvaCarbon, and Science Magazine in developing this article.
This article was produced from the transcribed conversation and dialogue on the topic, between the audiences and guest speakers. All participating audiences were invited as coauthors of this whitepaper, provided that one have completed all the following tasks: a) participated in at least three of the four webinars; b) contributed to the idea development and manuscript writing; and c) completed all required authorship documents according to the timeline to be specified in Science-i.
Under-represented in decision-making
Many scientists in our audience have often been frustrated at how little their advice is heard by decision-making institutions with the most outstanding example being the ill pathway that anthropogenic global change has taken so far. Viewing the current trends in science democratization (which involves having greater influence of the public over science and that influence being shared more equally among members of the public – a good example being citizen science), from the perspective of a UN implementing agency, what is FAO doing to incentivize this dialogue between science, decision-makers and international organizations?
We are today witnessing the empowerment of underrepresented communities both in science, and, possibly to a lesser degree, in government action. What has been specifically your experience watching this enlightenment both in regards to gender (including LGBTQIA+ community) ?
Nowadays much of the activism behind climate protests is spearheaded by young women, many of them from underrepresented geographies. As a woman, how do you see the future role of women in decision-making? Could you suggest some basic steps where gender inclusion in science and government in developing countries could be enhanced in the formulation of ground-breaking climate policies?
Under-represented in forest monitoring
Forest monitoring is traditionally an expensive enterprise usually taken by either researchers, timber companies or governments. In recent years, however, local and indigenous communities have taken more proactive roles in monitoring their forests in an effort to incentivize stewardship of their forest lands. Strengthening land tenure has been critical in climate change mitigation, particularly in Latin America. Could you mention some anecdotal evidence on the use of monitoring tools or systems to strengthen land tenure based on your experience? [notes: use of tool for land tenure purposes/ empowerment]
In regards to forest monitoring, you have experienced a recent push of Latin American countries towards establishing a collaborative network of governments in the exchange of experiences behind forest inventories. Are there lessons to learn from South-South cooperation and how could we open these government-led initiatives to researchers across the Globe?
The challenge of data openness and transparency
We are in the big data era, a clear example having come from the COVID-19 pandemic. And availability of forest-related data is also becoming widespread to scientists. However, many governments are still reluctant to share their forest data openly to the public. Given that these data are usually publicly funded, what are the reasons for this apparent lack of transparency and what can we do to improve it?
Solutions and Future Outlooks
The role of the United Nations and particularly FAO in climate action
1. FAO specialized agency of the UN; 2. FAO climate action, 3. FAO in the forest sector, 4. Introducing CBIT-Forest an FAO-Global Environment Facility, GEF partnership to support the implementation of the Paris Agreement aiming to work towards open and transparent forest data by enhancing countries’ national forest monitoring systems – through a joint collaboration between the FRA and NFM teams; as a FAO focal point on the ground in Latin America, what makes the region special in terms of action in the forest sector for climate mitigation?
Some papers have recently aimed to empower researchers from the Global South by helping establishing FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable) principles for data sharing, but a UNFAIR gap still exists between tropical forest data users, mostly from the Global North, and data producers from the South. This is very relevant in the research community. What measures could we all take to improve representation and empower opportunities among researchers from underrepresented geographies?
The role of US Government (SilvaCarbon)
Dealing with underrepresentation involves cross-cutting dimensions among the interested vulnerable groups. Are there possible conflicts arising from aiming to reach solutions that benefit all of them? What can we make to produce an overall benefit that is larger than the sum of all possible solutions for different groups?
The role of NGOs and citizen science groups?
The role of International research hub and cyberinfrastructure (Science-i)
(Jingjing will cover this section)