Peaceful and Sustainable Ridge to Reef Approach in Surigao del Norte

 

Drivers of the process Municipal and Barangay LGUs of Malimono, Surigao Metropolitan Water District (DSWD), Surigao del Norte NGO Coalition for Development (SUNGCOD), Hinatuan Passage Development Alliance (HIPADA) – council and technical advisory group, Province of Surigao del Norte, NCIP , Surigao State College of Technology (SSCT)
Target Group fisherfolks, farmers, indigenous peoples, settlers in the watershed areas, water users, municipal and barangay government employees of Malimono

 

This is Activity Cluster of the COSERAM program aims at supporting initiatives that will achieve an ecosystem based sustainable and peaceful development of the Malimono area – from the watershed in the upland (ridge) to the coastal zones (reef ).

Context

Malimono is one of the poorest municipalities in the Province of Surigao del Norte. The estimated forest land of 1,890 hectares in the uplands of Malimono is covered with primary and secondary forest, also extending into the Surigao Watershed Forest Reserve. Farming and fishing are the main sources of income. The municipal waters have potentials for eco-tourism. Coral reefs and underwater caves along the coast provide a sanctuary for endemic fish species. There are ten pending mining claims in the municipality covering an area of 3,450 hectares within existing agricultural and forestland. These potential mining sites partly surrounding the upland watershed have substantial gold deposits already explored by foreign and local mining companies. Several conflict lines hinder a peaceful and sustainable development. The degradation of natural resources from the mountain ridge down to the reef starts to show its effects across the ecosystems (e.g. decreasing quantity and quality of water supply, damage to marine resources). is occurs primarily through small scale timber and mining operations as well as illegal fishing in the area. Other emerging conflicts involve competing environmental and economic priorities and interests of stakeholders. Those are further aggravated by inadequate public services; lack of consultation of affected groups (in particular the indigenous community of the Mamanwas); and overlapping mandates among government and other agencies. All those conflicts are potentially violent, and can trigger further escalation. The presence of the New People’s Army might lead to an increase of military operations and disrupt the daily lives of the residents.

Approach

COSERAM supports the joint endeavour of civil society and state actors to develop a conflict sensitive management approach from the mountain ridge down to the coastal reefs. The Ridge to Reef (R2R) is a holistic ecosystem approach for sustainable resource management particularly suitable for the context of Malimono. R2R emphasizes connectivity within and between sub-ecosystems such as upland, lowland, freshwater and the sea. It focuses on the protection and restoration of ecosystem functions and processes, with the aim to mitigate further degradation of land, water and coastal areas and the implied land and resource conflicts. The innovative asset of theCOSERAM program is the application of a multi-stakeholder dialogue process in which different perspectives of all actors are discussed, aiming towards a joint objective. The program supports capacity development of all stakeholders to strengthen the conflict sensitive management of marine protected areas and eco-tourism sites, and participatory development planning. Trough the inclusion of the R2R approach in plans and processes of the municipality of Malimono and line agencies such as Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), COSERAM and its partners work towards an improved  management of natural resources.

Joint aim of the Surigao Metropolitan Water District (SMWD) – supported by a GIZ DevelopmentWorker – and the Hinatuan Passage Development Alliance (HIPADA) is a strengthened watershed protection and management, addressing conflicts regarding overlapping land use claims. SMWD draws the water supply for Surigao City from the upland watershed. HIPADA is a cooperation of eight municipalities in Surigao del Norte and has great interest to learn from the pilot activities to up-scale the experiences beyond Malimono.

The Surigao del Norte NGO Coalition for Development (SUNGCOD) – a coalition of 8 NGOs supported by a German Civil Peace Service Expert – currently establishes with the LGU Malimono marine protected areas and strengthens the Bantay Dagat (a community based sea patrol/warden). Apart from focusing on environmental protection, SUNGCOD also assists marginalized groups with alternative livelihood projects, conflict analysis and the provision of advocacy services. Especially the Mamanwas’ security of tenure needs more attention, legal aid and technical expertise. The situation and rights of indigenous people should thus be mirrored in planning and implementation activities of all government agencies.

Anticipated Results

A comprehensive R2R framework is established and implemented

  • Development interventions are planned within the framework considering the impacts on the different ecological and social subsystems
  • Participatory conflict sensitive land use and development planning is improved and plans are adopted
  • Multi Stakeholder Management of the area is strengthened Stakeholder’s capacity to protect coastal and upland areas is strengthened
  • Further land degradation is prevented and food security enhanced
  • Infrastructure for protection and processes of non-violent enforcement, e.g. through a functional bantay dagat, is improved
  • Cooperatives for small-scale fishers and farmers (including women’s organisations) identify alternative livelihood opportunities

Awareness on Indigenous People’s rights and situation is increased

  • All stakeholders (including the marginalized Mamanwa tribes) are well informed about the indigenous peoples’ rights
  • The Mamanwa tribes participate in the multi-stakeholder process and management

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