The jurisdictional approach (JA) to REDD+ and low emissions development has gained considerable currency in recent years. As understood here, JA refers to a government-led, comprehensive approach to forest and land use across one or more legally defined territories. Multiple efforts directed at building jurisdictional approaches have been underway across the tropics for more than a decade, proceeding mainly at the level of states and provinces. Although these programs exhibit considerable diversity and varying levels of maturity, several important lessons have emerged from experiences to date. These include the importance of broad, multi-stakeholder processes; the need for a complementary set of cross-sectoral policies and programs grounded in a realistic assessment of implementation capacity within the government and among key partners; and the critical role of political commitment and leadership.