Conflict-sensitive resource and asset management

Project description

Title: Conflict-sensitive resource and asset management (COSERAM)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Philippines
Lead executing agencies: National Economic Development Authority (NEDA)
Overall term: 2011 to 2018



The Philippines, especially Mindanao, is marked by political and social unrest, often leading to armed violence. The conflict-affected areas are rich in natural resources – such as mineral deposits, water, wood – and have a high level of biodiversity. Differing interests in the use of land and resources, monopolistic land ownership and poor governance contribute to exploitative use of these resources. In many cases, the marginalised population (women, young men and indigenous peoples) cannot benefit from the existing natural resources and public services.


In Caraga and other conflict-affected areas, authorities ensure that marginalised population groups have sustainable access to natural resources. As a result, there is a reduction in the potential for violent conflict.


The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH provides advisory services to authorities in order to promote the peaceful and effective resolution of conflicts over land use and land rights. At the same time, the programme supports marginalised population groups in gaining lawful access to natural resources and encourages dialogue between stakeholders at both national and regional level.

From 2011 to 2014, GIZ worked closely with its partners to further develop participatory planning and dialogue processes for the peaceful resolution of potentially violent conflicts. Since 2015, the programme has been integrating the lessons learned into other cross-regional and national planning processes and their implementation (upscaling), thereby widening their reach.


Peacebuilding needs in development planning: The Caraga region adopted its first regional peace agenda in 2016. This will now serve as a strategic peacebuilding framework for the next three years, providing development planning policy guidelines for the five provinces which serve approximately 70 municipalities.

Conflict-sensitive land use planning: In a joint effort, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Office of the Presidential Advisor on the Peace Process (OPAPP) promote a conflict-sensitive and peacebuilding approach to land use planning. A total of six land use plans have already been drawn up on the basis of the new approach. Training materials and handouts developed in the programme are used during training courses provided for staff at the various government agencies and local authorities.

Land titles and planning in ancestral domains: The programme supported six indigenous groups during the process of applying for land titles. This led to the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples developing new approaches and overhauling a number of ethnographic approaches. These approaches will now be incorporated into guidelines at national level with a view to rolling them out nationwide.

Access to legal services and improved conflict resolution mechanisms: Law students taking part in a legal aid programme at Father Saturnino Urios University in Butuan are facilitating the resolution of conflict over the use of resources at municipality level. Marginalised groups are made aware of their rights in training sessions. Comparable schemes are currently being set up in two neighbouring regions. DILG in regions 10 and 13 is being supported in its effort to find ways of integrating local customary law into the formal conflict resolution mechanisms adopted by the village courts. These measures are already improving access to legal services for people in 147 communities.

Management of overlapping protected areas and ancestral domains: The indigenous population is involved in the management of the Agusan Marsh, Mount Apo and Mount Balatukan protected areas. 25 research scientists from the Manobo ethnic group, supported by government agencies, documented their biodiversity conservation practices. Some of these practices have been recognised by the Department of Environment. Guidelines on roles, responsibilities, management structures and management processes, as agreed in a joint consultation process by the parties involved, have been established in a code of practice. Some 5,000 hectares within the protected areas have been surveyed by drones and the resulting maps will form the basis for dialogue aimed at harmonising land use plans and monitoring biodiversity. Other areas are also reaping the benefits of the programme’s experience through the newly established Mindanao nature conservation network. 32 households in the Agusan Marsh area are now producing and selling jam from native fruits (katmon and libas). Research on marketing strategies for other home-grown foods, such as rice varieties, is currently underway.

Additional information