Multi-stakeholder forums (MSFs) are purposely organized interactive processes. They bring together a range of stakeholders to participate in dialogue, decision making and/or implementation, with the aim to address a common problem or achieve a common goal. In the context of REDD+ and other landscape-level efforts, such forums are essential.
MSFs are a more sustainable and democratic approach to decision making that can help to achieve common landscape goals. Such forums are thought to help reach participatory agreements with outcomes that are more equitable and effective than those reached through ‘business as usual’ approaches, which may be top-down, uni-sectoral or expert driven.
Despite the optimism, MSFs have been criticized. They may trivialize participation, limit opportunities for meaningful debate, fail to tackle power differences and lead to outcomes that reinforce inequality.
CIFOR researchers have been examining and engaging stakeholders to expand the transformative potential of MSFs in landscape governance since 2017 through literature reviews and comparative study of 13 MSFs organized at the subnational level in Brazil, Ethiopia, Indonesia and Peru. Based on that work, researchers also developed a toolkit of participatory, reflexive learning tools for MSF participants.
In learning from the past, considering progress and obstacles to further progress, and collectively planning how to achieve MSF goals in the future, CIFOR’s work is contributing to more resilient and equitable landscapes that benefit those that live and work in them.
Case study results:
- Brazil: Acre (English / Portuguese); Mato Grosso (English / Portuguese); Pará (English / Portuguese)
- Ethiopia: Oromia (Bale – English / Jamma-Urji – English)
- Indonesia: Central Kalimantan (English / Indonesian); East Kalimantan (English / Indonesian); Jambi (English / Indonesian); West Java (English / Indonesian)
- Peru: Loreto (English / Spanish); Madre de Dios (English / Spanish); San Martín (English / Spanish); Ucayali (English / Spanish)