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The chapter summarises the main findings from the SDG chapters (1–17) combined with the results from a workshop in 2018 to answer the following questions: How is Agenda 2030 likely to interact with forests and people? What are the possible synergies, trade-offs between goals and targets? What are the contextual conditions that shape the interactions between SDGs and targets and subsequent impacts on forests and people? Two broad groups of SDGs emerge. One includes SDGs that primarily focus on institutional, governance and social conditions. Those contribute to an enabling environment for inclusive forest management and conservation with associated livelihood benefits. A second group of SDGs affect land use directly and thus are expected to impact forests. Progress in the first group of SDGs results in synergistic interactions and positive outcomes for forests and peoples. Among the second group of SDGs, the potential for trade-offs is high, with important repercussions for forest and people. Understanding the potential for these trade-offs is essential in order to avoid implementation pathways that favour a small subset of these SDGs at the expense of the others.
Successful attainment of SDG17 is essential for implementing the other 16 SDGs, all of which depend upon secure means of implementation and durable partnerships. Funding for forests from ODA and other sources has trended upwards since 2000, providing reason for cautious optimism. However, REDD+ finance is declining. Private sector investment remains important. The idea of impact investment, which aims to solve pressing environmental and social problems while providing a return for investors, could make a significant contribution to the SDGs. However, not all sustainable development finance promotes forest conservation. Increasing funding for agricultural production often incentivises the conversion of forests to agricultural land while generating deforestation. The policy of zero net deforestation (ZND) is leading to the creation of partnerships to promote deforestation-free commodity supply chains for four forest risk commodities (palm oil, soy, beef and timber). Some innovative partnerships have been created to promote sustainable development involving intergovernmental organisations, the private sector, research institutes, NGOs and grass roots organisations. However, such partnerships exist within a neoliberal global economic order in which there are net financial flows from the Global South to the Global North that negate financial flows for sustainable development.
The introductory chapter introduces the Agenda 2030 and its 17 SDGs and briefly presents the process that led to its adoption. It discusses the nature of the SDGs, recognising the great variation in the nature, scope and function of the SDGs and related targets, and drawing attention to the interlinkages among the goals and targets. Forests provide ecosystem services that are crucial for human welfare and for reaching the SDGs. The chapter gives a brief overview of the world’s forests and forests’ contributions to the SDGs. Forests are only mentioned in two SDGs (SDG 6 and SDG 15). However, due to the interrelated nature of the SDGs and targets, the implementation of the SDG agenda will inevitably influence forests and forest-related livelihoods and the possibilities to achieve the forest specific targets. Understanding the potential impacts of SDGs on forests, forest-related livelihoods and forest-based options to generate progress towards achieving the SDGs, as well as the related tradeoffs and synergies, is crucial for efforts undertaken to reach these goals. It is especially important for reducing potential negative impacts and to leverage opportunities to create synergies that will ultimately determine whether comprehensive progress towards the SDGs will be accomplished.
This chapter assesses the implications of UN SDG 16: ‘Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions’ for both forests and people. Particular focus is placed on three thematic areas: 1) peace and the reduction of armed conflict, 2) the rule of law, accountability, transparency, and access to justice and 3) inclusiveness and participation. Conflict is widely variable in its effects, and may either prevent agricultural expansion or drive illicit crop production, and foster migration in or out of forested areas; while peace is often accompanied by state-supported mining and expansion of commercial crops. Regarding rule of law, forest policy in many countries favours political elite, large-scale industry actors and international trade. Hence, if SDG implementation strengthens state institutions, the ‘rule of law’ and transparency linked with international trade, it is likely to reinforce existing inequalities, unless it is counter-balanced with legal reforms that strengthen local rights to land and resources. While there has been much recent progress in promoting ‘participatory’ forest management, this is often tightly controlled by the state, contributing to local administrative burdens without redistributing power and benefits. In sum, the impacts of SDG 16 on forests and people depend on how it shapes power and resource distribution.
This chapter summarises the lessons learnt in the book, based on a reflection process amongst the editors and a joint workshop with the lead authors. The key messages are that 1) forests are a crucial base for sustainable development, and need to be fully considered in all related decision making, 2) the SDGs will impact forests and the people dependent on them in many ways, with the exact impact being highly dependant on the respective ecological and socio-economic context, 3) the SDGs include partially conflicting visions for forests and people, corresponding to distinct values and interests, involving the necessity to consider trade-offs and set priorities when implementing them, 4) there are fundamental values and principles that may guide sustainable development related to forests and people regardless of the context, including basic human rights but also forest-specific aspects and principles for how existing trade-offs can be managed, 5) that there is the necessity to continuously learn from, and adapt, the process of implementing the SDGs. The chapter concludes by addressing the urgency of creative and forward-looking human engagement at the forest–people interface, to make sure that sustainable development can benefit both forests and people.
Forests provide vital ecosystem services crucial to human well-being and sustainable development, and have an important role to play in achieving the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations 2030 Agenda. Little attention, however, has yet focused on how efforts to achieve the SDGs will impact forests and forest-related livelihoods, and how these impacts may, in turn, enhance or undermine the contributions of forests to climate and development. This book discusses the conditions that influence how SDGs are implemented and prioritised, and provides a systematic, multidisciplinary global assessment of interlinkages among the SDGs and their targets, increasing understanding of potential synergies and unavoidable trade-offs between goals. Ideal for academic researchers, students and decision-makers interested in sustainable development in the context of forests, this book will provide invaluable knowledge for efforts undertaken to reach the SDGs. This title is available as Open Access via Cambridge Core.
The Multidisciplinary Landscape Assessment (MLA) approach, initiated in 1999 by researchers at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) in collaboration with various partners, combines a technical survey of species, habitats and landscape locations with an assessment of their significance to local people. It fits the CIFOR mission to conduct research relevant to improving natural resource management and benefiting people. Its main claim to distinctiveness lies in its multi-disciplinary range of methods. The MLA landscape is defined by the people that live in it: how they define its land and vegetation types, the way they relate to it and use it: ‘a holistic and spatially explicit concept that is much more than the sum of its components: terrain, soil, land cover and use, […] a cultural construction’ (Sheil et al., 2003). The geographical scale of the landscape depends on the distances or (territories) that people cover to meet their livelihood needs. None of the studies explicitly explored local communities' concepts of ‘biodiversity’ and the term was never used with them. Rather the emphasis was on the environment and landscape in which people lived.
Since the first survey was conducted, others have used the approach in similar surveys. This chapter describes the basic methods; then compares the application and outcomes of the approach in ten case studies.
The basic approach
The approach and initial methods were developed during an extended two-month workshop and field trial in Malinau, East Kalimantan.
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