Tools for managing landscapes, inclusively

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CIFOR strives to support sustainable and equitable landscapes throughout the world by providing evidence and analysis of practices on the ground. Studying and supporting multi-stakeholder forums and processes are an important element of this work.

CIFOR researchers with the Alto Mayo Protected Forest multi-stakeholder forum in 2019 (Marlon del Aguila/CIFOR)

Multi-stakeholder forums bring people together to address a problem, to work towards a common goal and/or to create a plan for collective action. There is considerable global interest in the potential for these participatory processes to improve landscape governance and management.

For example, in Peru, the management of natural protected areas is supported by multi-stakeholder forums. These management committees host the multiple actors interested in conserving each specific area. In Brazil, one of the country’s most important environmental forums is a multi-stakeholder arena organized by the state of Para to tackle deforestation.

As a result of CIFOR’s study of multi-stakeholder forums, researchers identified the need for such fora to be flexible and adaptable, and to address the power imbalances inherent in interactions among participants. In response, CIFOR worked with dozens of participants to co-design a set of tools aimed to ensure everyone’s voices are heard. Developed via a series of collaborative workshops with diverse actors from government, indigenous and local communities, women’s organizations and NGOs, the result is a series of guides that enable participants to monitor and reflect on the participatory processes that they are a part of.

The different tools are free and openly accessible, created with the aim to support more equitable dialogues and outcomes. They are intended for use by governments, international institutions, indigenous and local community organizations, environmental groups and other NGOs.

The tools support people at the forefront of the necessary transition from top-down decision making to more equitably managed landscapes. They do not challenge power relations and inequalities on their own, but they support regular reflection for better communication, mutual understanding and adaptive learning. The process as guided by the tools can lead to more equitable participatory practices as part of a strategy for change.

Toolbox Videos


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How are we doing? A tool to reflect on the process, progress and priorities of your multi-stakeholder forum

This participatory tool goes beyond rating a set of indicators; it invites a guided group reflection. The purpose of this reflection is for MSF participants to collectively learn from the past, consider progress and obstacles to further progress, and collectively plan how to achieve their goals in the future.

Full tool: English / Indonesia / Spanish
Playlist : English

Getting it right: a guide to improve inclusion in multi-stakeholder forums

This guide addresses issues of under-representation by providing tools designed to operationalize inclusion and address challenges in achieving equitable inclusion in MSFs. The guide focuses on women and indigenous peoples, providing insights that inform other under-represented groups.

Full tool: English / Indonesia / Spanish
Playlist : English

Infobriefs – Study of 14 MSFs: