The fate of Asia’s forests is tightly linked to agricultural practices. Agricultural expansion is the leading driver of deforestation and degradation in Asia. Development needs, food security concerns, and a growing and urbanizing population are driving much of this expansion and placing severe pressures on forests and agroecosystems. The resulting land-use change is a major source of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and is the predominant emissions source in many Asian countries. Thus, a major challenge for Asia (and other regions) is how to sustainably manage forests and agroecosystems for productivity and diversity, lower GHG emissions, and maintain other ecosystem services and biodiversity (including agrobiodiversity). One possible way forward is the adoption of an integrative systemic approach to low-emission development across the land use sector, which recognizes the dependence of agricultural sustainability on landscape integrity and ecosystem health. The Low-Emission Development Strategies (LEDS) Global Partnership (GP) – and its regional platform the Asia LEDS Partnership – aim to support this approach through an Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use (AFOLU) working group.
The AFOLU Working Group was established to encourage and facilitate coordination between these sectors, and the public and private interests/organizations working in these sectors, on overcoming known and emerging technical challenges and advancing institutional knowledge on low emission development strategies across the AFOLU sector. As a starting point, the AFOLU Working Group aims to critically assess the technical and institutional gaps impeding cross-sectoral coordination and collaboration on integrated land-use planning. Are these gaps due to lack of technical knowledge on data collection and management? What lessons can we learn from past forestry and agriculture policy reform? What can we learn from other sectors? Are we capitalizing on innovations being piloted at small scale? How can we scale-up and think at landscape level? What incentives are needed to operationalize an integrative systemic approach?
The AFOLU Working Group saw the Landscapes Issues Marketplace as an opportunity to initiate an open dialogue on these questions with diverse stakeholders from the region. The central part of their Marketplace presence was given to an AFOLU ‘Innovations Generator’, an interactive exercise for collecting ideas for advancing integrated land-use planning. The ‘Generator’ is a fun and fast way of collecting information about on-going efforts to implement landscape approaches in the region and identifying the type of support and inputs people feel are needed to increase the regional body of knowledge. The collected inputs were summarized and the key recommendations made available to Summit participants.
 Low emission development strategies (LEDS) are national-level, country-led, and country-specific strategic plans to promote economic growth while simultaneously reducing greenhouse gas emissions over the long term without causing trade-offs with other environmental pressures. LEDS are a key element for short, medium and long-term national economic development plans, contributing to green growth, green economy and climate resiliency.
 The working groups of the LEDS GP develop and deliver technical resources, training, expert assistance and match-making. They also engage with current topical networks and convene virtual forums.