Strengthening National Systems to Improve Governance and Management of ICCAs in the Philippines

Published: 28 January 2020
Last edited: 28 January 2020
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With the threat of loss of biodiversity and exploitation of IP lands and communities in some areas of the Philippines, the Biodiversity Management Bureau - Department of Environment and Natural Resources (BMB-DENR), along with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), and the Philippine Association for Intercultural Development developed a project that is directed toward strengthening the conservation, protection, and management of key biodiversity sites in the Philippines by improving the governance and management of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities Conserved Areas and Territories (ICCAs).


Southeast Asia
Scale of implementation
Area-wide development
Urban ecosystem and build environment
Access and benefit sharing
Indigenous people
Traditional knowledge
Poor monitoring and enforcement
Sustainable development goals
SDG 10 – Reduced inequalities
SDG 16 – Peace, justice and strong institutions
SDG 17 – Partnerships for the goals
Aichi targets
Target 1: Awareness of biodiversity increased
Target 11: Protected areas
Target 17: Biodiversity strategies and action plans


Palawan, Philippines | Aurora, Bataan, Bukidnon, Ifugao, Kalinga, North Cotabato, Nueva Vizcaya, Surigao del Sur, Agusan del Sur
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Most of the ICCAs in the Philippines coincides with the ancestral lands of IP communities. However, conservation practices are not adequately and effectively documented among these communities. Furthermore, these KBAs are singled out for mining and agri-forestry by local and international companies, which takes the IPs away from their tribal sacred grounds, homes, and livelihood. 


  • Indigenous people and their sacred grounds
  • Flora and fauna
  • Other people residing in the KBAs of Kalinga, Ifugao, Nueva Vizcaya, Aurora, Bataan, Palawan, Agusan Del Sur, Surigao Del Sur, Bukidnon, and North Cotabato

How do the building blocks interact?

Through the harmonized policies, the recognition and support ICCAs are presented with lead to the improvement of the lives of IP communities and the skills of the implementing agencies - strengthening their capacities. 


This project aims to solodify the regulatory framework and administrative procedures to maximize the potential of indigenous peoples (IPs) and key stakeholders for effective control of ICCAs. This project also directs toward making IP communities capable and active partners in conservation by working with 10 IP communities all over the Philippines. 


Ever since the project was implemented in 2015, it has delineated more than 150,000 hectares of ICCAs in Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs). Aside from tracing and recognizing these areas, the project has:

  • inventoried the precious flora and fauna living within it;
  • documented the communities' traditional resource management systems;
  • launched ten biodiversity-friendly livelihoods that benefitted 50,000 individuals, 46% of whom are women;
  • successfully lobbied to include ICCAs in the ENIPAS Law of 2018;
  • and trained DENR and NCIP personnel on ICCA Documentation and Cultural Appreciation. 

Contributed by

Naomi Maraviles United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

Other contributors

Lodigario Rigor
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Philippines