Civil Peace Service: Conflict transformation and peacebuilding in Mindanao

Project description

Title: Civil Peace Service (CPS) programme: Conflict transformation and peacebuilding in Mindanao
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Philippines
Lead executing agency: Civil Peace Service Group
Overall term: 2008 to 2018


Mindanao in the southern Philippines is regarded as the country’s least developed and structurally weakest region. The uneven distribution of land and resources on this group of islands, as well as the discrimination against and marginalisation of large sections of the population, are factors that contribute to various violent conflicts. For decades, there have been armed clashes between the Philippine Government and various rebel and separatist groups. Ethnic groups, clans and families also sustain a large number of conflicts, some of which harbour considerable potential for violence.

The most significant conflicts for the nation as a whole are the tensions that have existed for decades between the Philippine Government and the Maoist New People’s Army (NPA) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). The latter is fighting for the broad independence and self-determination of Mindanao’s Muslim minority. In the conflict between the government and the MILF in particular, the two parties have undertaken considerable efforts in recent years to settle their differences and reach a sustainable peace agreement. In March 2014, an agreement was signed which governs the gradual creation of a Muslim autonomous political region called Bangsamoro. A bloody incident in 2015, now generally regarded as a turning point in the peace process, brought the legal adoption and political implementation of the agreement to a standstill. Since coming to power in 2016, Duterte’s government has not yet put forward any proposals for resuming the process.


Communities affected by conflict harness the potential of local institutions (particularly in the proposed region of Bangsamoro and the surrounding areas) to bring about non-violent conflict transformation. They recognise potentially violent conflict early, prevent its escalation and thus strengthen their general resilience.

Marginalised groups, especially members of indigenous communities, are aware of their rights and the basic administrative principles that apply in connection with conflicts over resources. They are able to lay claim to and represent their rights and interests in an appropriate manner.

The people in north-western and central Mindanao address controversial issues relating to the Bangsamoro peace process at dialogue forums and information events. They recognise the causes and effects of conflict, are informed of progress and challenges in the peacebuilding process and are acquainted with possible non-violent solutions to emerging conflicts.

Civil society and government institutions and organisations (primarily in the proposed region of Bangsamoro and the surrounding areas) are actively involved in the transitional process of creating the autonomous entity of Bangsamoro in a conflict-sensitive way.


The Civil Peace Service (CPS) advises cooperation partners in Mindanao and supports them in planning and implementing peacebuilding projects. It works closely with partners in government and civil society to enhance the peacebuilding capacities of communities, establish dialogue and improve legal certainty. In these activities, it is cooperating with the Forum Civil Peace Service (forumZFD) and Bread for the World – Protestant Development Service within the context of a strategy developed jointly by the executing agencies of the Civil Peace Service.

In the Caraga region in the north-eastern part of the island of Mindanao, the Civil Peace Service is also working with the Conflict-Sensitive Resource and Asset Management (COSERAM) programme, which GIZ is implementing on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).


ZFD’s civil society and governmental partners design their projects in a conflict-sensitive way and are guided by international standards. They have been trained in non-violent conflict transformation methods and apply them in their peace work.

ZFD projects have contributed to non-violent transformation and resolution of conflicts over land and resources. Mediation has been successful in several conflicts between clans and families.

ZFD has supported the peace process between the Philippine Government and the MILF by networking peace stakeholders, including disadvantaged and marginalised groups, and by promoting dialogue at all levels of society.