Natural Resource Management in Conflict Prone Areas in Agusan del Norte


Drivers of the process City Government of Butuan, DENR, NCIP, DTI, DILG, DA, DAR, NEDA
Target Group settlers and Indigenous People living in the co-management area and adjacent Barangays and municipalities, potential investors



The City of Butuan and its partners to improve preconditions for adequate investments in natural resources in conflict prone areas.


The City of Butuan is the center of Caraga region. The boom of the logging industry from the 1950s to the middle of 1970s made Butuan the “Timber City of the South” with a flourishing logging industry.

In 2004, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and Butuan City entered into a co-management agreement for an area covering 10,960 hectares which was formerly used by a timber company, the Nasipit Lumber Company Inc. (NALCO). Since the timber company abandoned the area, settlers entered occupying the land, officially but also illegally.

More than 75% of the 3,500 households in the area are living below poverty threshold. Majority of themthe households are subsistence farmers. Indigenous peoples (Higaonons and Manobos) are present in six of the eight Barangays.  Certificates of Ancestral Domain Titles (CADT) are expected to be claimed. At the same time, several domestic and international investors have already expressed their interest to invest in the area. The area is also known to be partly under the influence of the New People’s Army. This complex situation and the high economic interests increase the potential for violent conflicts, hampering the development of the city. The city itself recognized that fostering a peaceful prosperity and enabling sustainable investments can only be achieved, if adequately considering the needs and rights of settlers and Indigenous People present in the area.


The vision of the City of Butuan in the co-management agreement is to jointly allocate, protect, develop and manage the former timber license agreement area for the benefit of the present and future generations of the communities and with due regards to the ancestral rights of the Indigenous Cultural Communities (ICCs). In this context, COSERAM has been asked to support the Technical Working Group (TWG) of the NALCO Co-management area established by the city, DENR and other line agencies. Main objective of this cooperation is strengthening the TWGs capacities to establish and conduct Multi-Stakeholder Dialogues (MSDs) for participatory planning and management of the NALCO area. This includes the elaboration of criteria for prioritization and selection of potential investors likely to ensure peaceful and sustainable development.

At the same time, the participatory planning approach shall be used for a conflict sensitive formulation of the Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP) of Butuan City with integrated Forest Land Use Plan (FLUP).

Similar challenges as in the NALCO area are faced in a Co-Management Area between the Province of Agusan del Norte and DENR as well as in the main watershed of the City of Butuan. Respective upscaling is foreseen.

Anticipated Results

The co-management stakeholders implement conflict-sensitive and participatory planning

  • A comprehensive and integrated Co-Management-Area Development Plan is formulated in a participatory way
  • Appropriate tenurial instruments are issued to legitimate claimants in due consideration of the Ancestral Domains of the Indigenous People

The City of Butuan implements conflict-sensitive comprehensive land use and development

  • The Comprehensive Land Use Plan with integrated Forest Land Use Plan for Butuan City is formulated in a participatory and conflict-sensitive manner, including enhancements in regard of Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Mitigation.
  • Participatory Barangay Development Plans for the 8 Barangays in the NALCO area are forumulated in a conflict sensitive way.

Multi Stakeholder Dialogues are institutionalized for participatory management of natural

  • Stakeholders (incl. IPs, small farmers etc.) have a common understanding on the Co-Management, their corresponding roles and responsibilities
  • Opportunities for sustainable economic investments are seized

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