The sustainable development goals

The Forests Asia Summit was guided by a landscapes approach: a broad framework that fully integrates all land-based sectors — forestry, agriculture, fisheries, livestock, mining and urban land use — into a sustainable development agenda. It sought to assess performance against broader development goals as set out by the proposed Sustainable Development Goals.

The SDGs — a framework that would replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which expire in 2015 — are intended to guide global action on health, poverty, hunger, climate and other development challenges.

Forests cut across all of them, maintaining water supplies, helping mitigate climate change, and providing billions of the world’s poorest people with income, food and medicine. Global policy makers know well the value of forests, but development interventions have failed to leverage their contributions to ecosystems and livelihoods.

For this reason, CIFOR is leading the call for an SDG on sustainable landscapes, one that would address several landscape functions, such as livelihood provision, ecosystem services and food production — and with forests as a key component. An SDG that includes forests is potentially beneficial not only for the overall development goals, but for the forests themselves.

Indonesia has joined the chorus, calling for a “cross-cutting SDG that includes poverty eradication, sustainable growth and equity, and forests” rather than a specific stand-alone forest goal.

All five of the major themes at the Forests Asia Summit helped to bring into focus how forest landscapes in Asia can feed into, and benefit from, this proposal.

To learn more about how forests fit into a potential SDG on sustainable landscapes, go to