Science for Policy


First ever GFEP Expert Panel meeting that was held virtually

Photo by Daniel C. Miller: 2nd Global Forest Expert Panel on Forests and Poverty Meeting in January 2020 in Nairobi, Kenya

Photo: The virtually held 3rd meeting of the Global Forest Expert Panel on Forests and Poverty, April 2020

At present, the news and our everyday lives are defined by the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. The restrictions all over the world have also significantly impacted all planned IUFRO meetings and events.

Instead of meeting physically in Vienna from 15-17 of April 2020, the Global Forest Expert Panel (GFEP) on Forests and Poverty met virtually over three consecutive days. The aim of the 3rd Panel Meeting was to intensify the exchange on the work in progress and to jointly consider the review comments and conclusions of the assessment report on Forests and Poverty.

In 2019 the Panel Members met for the first time in Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA to kick off the process of developing a GFEP report, focussing on the role of forests and trees for poverty alleviation. After having finalized the first drafts of chapters, the group met again in Nairobi, Kenya, in late January 2020. Now, after a thorough peer and expert review process of the finalized second draft chapter manuscripts, the 20 leading authors of the report met virtually last week to discuss the outcomes and feedback from this review process. The agenda of this online meeting also included a discussion of emerging key messages of the report and planned communication activities, involving the Panel Members.

At this virtually held three-days meeting, the experts proved not only to be outstanding in their own research fields, but also in facilitating and participating in such intensive virtual discussions. Thanks to the high motivation of all participants, the group concluded with agreeing on the first conclusions of the report and on the next steps to be taken.

Given the current situation globally and taking into account the uncertainties regarding the upcoming months, the Panel Members had to reconsider the schedule towards finalizing and launching the outcomes of this assessment. Nevertheless, the experts and the GFEP team at IUFRO Headquarters concluded that a publication and launch event of the assessment report and associated Policy Brief will be feasible in the later second half of 2020. Opportunities offered by modern technologies and the high motivation of the Panel reinforced this bright outlook even more!

More information about the assessment, including the list of Panel Members is available at:


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