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COSERAM 2015-2018

Since 2011, the Conflict Sensitive Resource and Asset Management (COSERAM) Program has been supporting an integrated approach of poverty reduction and peace building in the Philippines. The COSERAM Program is a joint undertaking of the Philippine and German Governments, implemented by GIZ and partner agencies. The program seeks to introduce and strengthen governance that provides sustainable access to natural resources for the marginalized population and reduce violent conflicts in the Caraga Region and other conflict-affected areas.


The Philippines, especially Mindanao in the south, is marked by political and social unrest, often leading to armed violence. The conflict-affected areas possess a wealth of natural resources, including rich mineral deposits, extensive water and wood resources, and high biodiversity. Differing interests surrounding land and resources, as well as monopolistic land ownership and poor governance, contribute to the exploitative use of those resources. This, in turn, poses a major challenge to inclusive development, and the marginalized population (women, young men, and indigenous peoples) often have limited access to natural resources and public services.


The GIZ program provides advisory services to relevant authorities in order to promote the peaceful and long-term resolution of conflicts over land use and land rights, and to support marginalized people in gaining lawful access to natural resources. To reach its target groups, the program promotes dialogue at all levels between the different interest groups, thereby assisting them to reach agreements. To secure the basic information for its planning and management, it is carrying out participatory peace and conflict assessments in the Caraga Region and other areas.

From 2011 to 2014, GIZ, in cooperation with its partners, enhanced mandated government processes to peacefully address violent conflicts. These improvements have either been integrated into national policies or documented in guides for replication. In its second phase, from 2015 to 2018, COSERAM will continue scaling up the innovations, and will replicate them through the cooperation’s partners.

The advisory services and technical assistance are categorized into five core processes, each of which uniquely caters to a specific area of need, particularly:

  1. Peacebuilding and Development Needs
  2. Land Use Planning and Resource Management
  3. Titling and Natural Resource Management in Ancestral Domains
  4. Access to Legal Aid and Paralegal Services, Rights Awareness and Conflict Transformation Mechanisms
  5. Indigenous Practices for Conservation of Biodiversity

Five core processes build on the results already achieved:

Access to Legal Aid and Paralegal Services, Rights Awareness and Conflict Transformation Mechanisms

Seven lawyers and 20 law students support institutions at the basic administrative level of the ‘barangay’ (village) in addressing resource-use conflicts. Twelve barangays now undertake proper monitoring of the legal and paralegal aid services of the local mediation boards.

Guides have been produced on the following topics:

  1. Guide to implementing gender responsive, child friendly, culture and conflict sensitive Barangay Justice System; and 2. Guide for establishing a CS/CT (Conflict Sensitive/Conflict Transformative) legal aid program together with a manual of operations.

Land Use Planning and Resource Management

Some 17 agreements have been drawn up regarding the management of conflict-sensitive natural resources, with a coverage of 330,000 hectares. Five authorities now promote conflict-sensitive land use plans. These have been developed in 24 municipalities, 31 barangays and two ancestral domains. Meanwhile, 25 quick impact measures implemented by government agencies have helped raise the level of trust in state services at the community level.

Guides have been produced on the following topics:

  1. Integration of indigenous peoples rights in planning processes; 2. Inclusive co-management of forest lands and open access areas; 3. Selection criteria for responsible investments in forest lands; 4. Conflict-sensitive land use planning tools for local governments; and 5. How government agencies can (re-)enter communities in conflict-affected areas.

Titling and Natural Resource Management in Ancestral Domains

Two government agencies have taken up the program’s policy recommendation to address conflicts related to overlapping claims in ancestral domains. Twelve local authorities within ancestral domains are now implementing plans, while 11 are preparing to do so.

        Guides have been produced on the following topics:

  1. How can local governments plan together with indigenous peoples in ancestral domains; 2. How can local governments provide financial and technical support in ancestral domain claims processing; 3. Formulating sustainable development and protection plans in ancestral domains; and 4. Steps, methods, and tools for ancestral domain titling and planning. These different guides will constitute as guides within the national level Philippine IPs.

Peacebuilding and Development Needs

Two provinces and their peace and security bodies have identified peacebuilding and development needs for Caraga. Based on this, a roadmap for peaceful development has been produced. Nine municipalities now take these needs into consideration in their plans. Guides have been produced for the inclusion of peace-building and development needs in the local planning and peace agenda

Indigenous Practices for Conservation of Biodiversity

A guide has been produced on the following topic:Indigenous Peoples have become involved in the management of the Agusan Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary. Supported by government agencies, 25 indigenous researchers have documented the practices of the local Manobo people.

Guide on how to document Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Practices and how these are linked to biodiversity conservation has been produced and will be part of the abovementioned Philippine Indigenous People Ethnographic Survey (PIPES) series.

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