Landscape governance refers to the combination of rules and decision-making processes of civic, private, and public actors with stakes in the landscape, that together shape the future of that landscape. As part of the Green Livelihoods Alliance, a program that supports civil society organizations (CSOs) to strengthen the governance of tropical forested landscapes, we developed and implemented a method that facilitates stakeholders to assess the status of governance in their own landscape and to identify options for improvement. In this article, we aim to reflect on landscape governance, based on our work within the Green Livelihoods Alliance. We present the method, summarize the results of its implementation, and draw practical lessons regarding the role of CSOs to improve landscape governance. We conducted workshops with stakeholders in 17 forested landscapes across 10 countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. During each workshop, participants scored and discussed a set of governance indicators, developed a common vision for landscape governance, and identified the practical steps that would need to be taken to achieve that vision. Analyzing the results from the workshops, we found that landscape stakeholders tend to perceive that: opportunities to influence decision-making are unequal; integrated landscape planning efforts remain noncommittal; and implementation and enforcement of regulations is weak. To improve governance in the future, it is common to call for the development of multi-stakeholder processes, to allow different actors to discuss, negotiate, and develop collaborative action to address landscape-level challenges. CSOs can support such processes, by helping to develop a shared understanding of landscape governance, differences in interests, and possibilities for collaborative action. CSOs can also help stakeholders to develop multi-stakeholder procedures, and build trust and capacity among stakeholders to take an active role in such processes.
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