Multi-stakeholder forums (MSFs) are receiving widespread attention due to the growing urgency to address climate change and transform development trajectories.
Systematic reviews oversimplify complex social settings by ignoring context and process, both key to the success of MSFs. The Realist Synthesis Review (RSR) method addresses this oversight and explains why initiatives succeed or fail.
The RSR method led to the extraction of four main models used to foster sustainable land use through MSFs: sustainability, livelihoods, participation and multilevel processes.
Results reveal the need to shift from seeing context as an obstacle that must be surpassed for more successful initiatives, to thinking of how to design initiatives that respond to context.