The Paraguayan government, in partnership with the World Resources Institute (WRI), has committed to increase transparency around forest and land use management by creating South America’s first national Forest Atlas. A ceremony today officially marked the collaboration and was attended by the President of Paraguay Mario Abdo Benítez, National Forest Institute (INFONA) President Cristina Goralewski, and former President of Mexico H.E. President Felipe Calderón, on behalf of WRI.
With technical assistance from WRI’s Global Forest Watch initiative, Paraguay will compile official forest data into a publicly accessible Paraguayan Forest Atlas. The five year-agreement signed by INFONA and WRI will serve to enhance government and private sector enforcement mechanisms by enabling improved monitoring of commodity driven deforestation, invasions into indigenous lands and carbon emissions. WRI has helped implement similar Forest Atlas initiatives in a dozen other countries, though this is the first in the region.
“We often speak of the importance of forests, and indeed, they play so many roles in Paraguay that are important to both urban and rural communities, agricultural systems, natural infrastructure and biodiversity. In commissioning a national forest monitoring platform, President Abdo Benítez and the country of Paraguay are strengthening their commitment to the pulse of the country -its forested land and communities that live among it,” said former President of Mexico H.E. President Felipe Calderón.
The creation of this Forest Atlas is one of several advancements the government of Paraguay has recently taken towards sustainable land use management, in collaboration with groups like WRI and WWF Paraguay. Paraguay recently joined the ranks of 16 other countries in Latin America by pledging to restore its degraded land as part of Initiative 20×20, generating numerous ecosystem and economic benefits through the nation’s forests.
“Today we bring together technology, innovation, and transparency. With this platform, all of us can watch over what happens to our forest resources, and we are called upon to promote public policies that give value to our native forests, promote restoration as a profitable and sustainable development tool, and make Paraguay an example of sustainable development,” said Cristina Goralewski, President of the Instituto Forestal Nacional (INFONA).