Multi-stakeholder mechanisms have been touted as a more democratic and equitable alternative to forest and land use decision-making. It has been argued that these processes do not address power relations and thus maintain the status quo. In this chapter, we examine eight Multi-stakeholder fora in the Peruvian Amazon, half of which have been set up in the Madre de Dios region, and the other half in the San Martin region, both in the Peruvian Amazon. These regions represent two different poles of development paradigms in Peru. While the chapter does not provide a definitive answer around whether multi-stakeholder processes can address power inequalities, three preliminary ideal types are used to analyze these mechanisms, drawn from a realist synthesis review of the literature: decision-making, management and influence. This chapter illuminates how multi-stakeholder fora are affected by their contexts, as well as their process and outcomes.
Taking SDG 5 seriously in relation to forests brings to the forefront what is usually taken for granted in forest debates: people, their relationships to one another and to the forests that determine forest outcomes. In this chapter, we bring to light the invisible labour and relations that underpin good forest management. We show how systemic and contextual factors such as health, gender-based violence and unpaid care work by forest peoples in the forests and outside are crucial to the welfare of forests and forest dependent peoples. So far, little progress has been made in implementing SDG5 targets within forestry. Political will is needed to transform unequal relationships and to support demands for forest justice. There is a need to challenge privilege based on sex, class, ethnicity or caste and to destabilize inequitable micro- and macro-economic structures such as commodification and support democratic forest governance to work towards greater sustainability. It is also important to keep in mind that well-intentioned efforts, such as gender programmes can have adverse effects if not cognisant of contextual power relations. The welfare and dignity that achieving SDG 5 would bring to forest peoples and livelihoods is essential to ensuring better managed and sustainable forests.
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