Among the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) three broad groups coexist: A) articulating demand for further human resource appropriation, B) sustaining the resource base, and C) redistributing power and benefits. Agriculture and forestry jointly interact with all three groups of goals, with agroforestry as an opportunity to transcend barriers between these separate policy domains (van Noordwijk et al. in press). However, there is often a difference of interests among stakeholders involved in water management, agriculture, and forestry. As a result, a disjoint policy landscape might exist, creating dysfunctional policies for some of the stakeholders. In particular, developing further institutional space for integral ‘all-land-uses’ approaches requires a more effective voice of local stakeholders in the process of landscape and green economy planning than is currently common.
Novel scenario evaluation tools are needed to support actors in landscape management to address the SDG agenda in all its complexity, while creating a more level ‘playing field’ for decision making in which local knowledge, voices and preferences are combined with external technical knowledge and policy frameworks. In the emerging field of ‘serious games’ there is a growing number of local success claims, but insufficient experience with going to scale. SESAM aims to develop replicable smart game designs adapted to a range of local contexts, recognizing the multiple coexisting discourses on priority actions in ‘greening’ growth. SESAM will thereby open the door to the widespread and responsible use of serious games for governing (agro)forest landscapes.
The overall objective of the SESAM programme is to: Develop interdisciplinary participatory Scenario Evaluation Games (SEG) for supporting and enhancing social learning and action by actors involved in multi-level decision-making processes around the forest-water-people nexus, and understand their impact on participatory decision-making on water and (agro)forest landscape management.
The SESAM programme runs from July 2019 to July 2025 and is based on a case study approach. It consists of 17 subprojects i.e. 2 postdoctoral projects (PD projects) and 15 PhD projects. The case studies originate from 7 countries: Indonesia, Kenya, Uganda, Suriname, Ecuador, Peru, and Brazil. They represent a diversity of distinct socio-cultural and political economic drivers of forest and water exploitation. Two of the PhD projects will develop agent-based modes systematizing across the cases. Two PD projects will develop methodological tools to guide the PhD serious gaming research as well as perform a large cross-case study comparative analysis.