Summary of EA programme

Mining development is a major driver of deforestation and forest degradation, and pollution of rivers and coastal waters in the Philippines. The emphasis of the Philippines country program is on improving environmental governance. It is built around the ecosystem & livelihood nexus, with large-scale mining and commercial plantation development as a key external threat to both.

The program helps Indigenous Peoples (IPs) to obtain tenurial security through the acquirement of Certificate of Ancestral Domain Titles (CADTs) and by assisting in the development and implementation of Ancestral Domain Sustainable Development and Protection Plans (ADSDPPs). Community-based NTFP enterprises are established and sustainable farming is promoted. The program helps prepare target groups for pro-community REDD+ and other Payments for Environmental Services (PES) projects as alternatives to large-scale mining and other land conversion.

The program enhances (indigenous) community participation in development planning and improves linkages between local governments, indigenous peoples and farmer communities. It helps to improve protected area governance and expand the area of protected watersheds and ICCAs (indigenous & community conserved areas). “Ridge to Reef” connectivity, from upland Ancestral Domains/Protected Areas down to coastal ecosystems, is promoted, and two river basin management councils are strengthened / established. The program helps to increase resilience and reduce vulnerability of ecosystems and people in the face of the adverse effects of climate change, by promoting ecosystem-based adaptation strategies at both the local and national level.

A strong anti-mining alliance is built. EA partners and other environmental and human rights groups are lobbying for the passage of the Alternative Minerals Management Bill (AMMB) in Congress. The program also supports mining advocacy work of EA partners at the local level and provides urgent legal servicing for communities affected by mining. Additionally, the programme capacitates indigenous communities on their rights in engaging mining issues in their ancestral domains. The program aims to protect and restore at least 400.000 ha of critical ecosystems and to create rights-based access to resources and livelihood improvement for at least 20.000 households. This is done in Mindanao, Palawan and Luzon.

Key EA-IUCN NL partners & projects (2011 - 2015):

EA partner

Geographical focus


The Samdhana Institute, Philippines; with Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center- Friends of the Earth Philippines (LRC-KsK)

Mindanao & country-wide

Building legislative and sub national constituency for social and environmental safeguards in Natural and Mineral Resources Laws and Policies

Partnership For Rural & Technical Services (PARTS)


Upstream-downstream approach to sustainable ecosystem management in Dioyo watershed, N-Mindanao.

Kitanglad Integrated  NGOs, Inc. (KIN)                              


Strengthening Indigenous Governance  through Management of Forest Ecosystems and Ancestral Domains

Tri-People Concern for Peace, Progress and Development of Mindanao, Inc. (TRICOM)


Sustaining initiatives for effective natural resource management in Ancestral Domains, Mindanao

McKeough Marine Center-Xavier University (MMC-XU)


Strengthening the ridge to reef ecosystem management approach for sustainable development in Mindanao

Environmental Legal Assistance Center, Inc. (ELAC)                             


Enhancing Local Conservation Capacities and Advocacy Initiatives in Mt. Mantalingahan Range

Non-Timber Forest Products - Task Force (NTFP-Task Force)              

Palawan; Luzon

Forest Conservation through Sustainable NTFP Management and REDD+ in Luzon and Palawan

Network of Sustainable Livelihoods Catalysts (NSLC)

Luzon (Bicol)

Rebuilding Coastal Ecosystems Through  Community Pride and Ownership in Bicol

Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA)


Capacity Building and Campaigning for the Protection of Cordillera Ecosystems

Tanggol Kalikasan


Strengthening capacity towards ecosystems-based management of critical ecosystems in Luzon

For project summaries see:

Main background facts to the EA interventions

The rapid mineral exploration and extraction in the Philippines since the past decade has become the single most significant threat to livelihoods and the integrity of ecosystems in rural areas including indigenous territories. Since 2004 the government has been aggressively promoting large-scale mining through the entry of foreign investments in the mineral industry and in the past two years President Aquino has further pursued this path of mining liberalization. More and more mineral areas are being reserved exclusively for mining operations, overriding any pre-existing land uses and overruling local and provincial government’s environmental codes. The current mining policy has led to actual displacement of indigenous communities, numerous human rights violations, community division and environmental degradation. Current mining policies are also putting at stake a sound implementation of the Philippines Climate Change Act. The vulnerability of the country’s population to climate change, as shown by recent disaster events (e.g., typhoons Washi and Pablo in Mindanao), is exacerbated by the high poverty levels but also by the negative environmental and social impacts of mining. Most EA partners and their community partners in Palawan, Mindanao and Luzon are now having to deal with mining issues. They do this by capacitating local (indigenous) communities to better assert their rights in engaging with the mining issues in their ancestral domains; pushing for local mining moratoria and by assisting indigenous and farmer communities in the development of sustainable livelihoods. At the national level EA partners and other environmental and human rights groups are lobbying for the passage of the Alternative Minerals Management Bill (AMMB). The AMMB seeks to resolve the problems faced by communities and local governments due to the gaps and flawed framework embodied in the current Mining Act of 1995.

Geographical and thematic focus areas

Geographical focus: selected landscapes in Mindanao, Palawan, Luzon.
Thematic focus areas: large-scale mining; indigenous land rights; NTFPs; REDD+; PES; Ridge to Reef approach; Ecosystem-based Adaptation.