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The development of this resource-based conflict transformation framework is inspired by the actual experience of the Ecosystems Work for Essential Benefits, Inc. (ECOWEB) in facilitating a land conflict transformation process at the local or village level, particularly in Barangay Lumbac located in the municipality of Kolambugan, province of Lanao del Norte, in the island of Mindanao – southern part of the Philippines.
This resource-based conflict is about overlapping and conflicting claims over more than 200 hectares productive coconut land involving 200 families. Although it is mainly a land conflict, but the presence of different cultural groupings and identities of the parties increase its complexity. Indirect actors to the conflict in Lumbac have been responsible for escalating the conflict to a violent phase. The conflict has its roots in colonial and national land politics that discriminate Indigenous peoples and Muslim communities. Ancestral land claims must compete with official title deeds. With a national government that does not address these problem local actors have taken the situation into hand with both violent and non-violent means.
The transformation process has been runnig for four years through the intervention of ECOWEB with support from CAFOD and GIZ and in partnership with the local government unit of Kolambugan, and other partner organizations including faith-based groups, other local NGOs and concerned national government agencies operating in the locality. The process that is undertaken is multi-track, aimed at transforming this complex land conflict in Lumbac by applying the tools described here.
More information about this process can be found in the case study.
In our experience, a conflict transformation process is rarely linear but is more like a web of entangled issues and relationships. Conflict transformation therefore requires practitioners to become reflective, creative and persevering: it is like a journey without a definite time frame.
A conflict transformation process should provide a safe Space and make use of Time to restore strained Relationships. Our aims to surface truth about the conflict and encourage conflict parties to have mercy (compassion and acceptance) to each other. While aiming for justice, our actions and decisions are motivated by a desire for Peace.