Living Laboratory

The Caraga Initiative

A Living Laboratory for Rural Solutions™ in the Philippines.


The Caraga Initiative is a comprehensive rural development project in one of the richest, most bio-diverse, untapped regions in the tropics. Encompassing an initial 1.2M acres united for development by the Indigenous People's Economic Union (IPEU), the Caraga Initiative is launching multi-sector businesses to produce a sustainable economy benefiting the indigenous people of the Caraga and other regions that ultimately includes 10M acres granted to the indigenous people by the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of the Philippines.


Global Action Platform is the exclusive NGO strategic partner for the Caraga Initiative. In partnership with GPSS, we are working to create new global standards for comprehensive economic/environmental/social development that will directly benefit poor, land-holding indigenous people of the world. Working with Global Action Platform's alliance of universities, global businesses, and NGOs, The Caraga Initiative will integrate business development, action research, global management practices, and metrics from the Sustainable Development Goals to create models that can be replicated in other under developed regions around the world.


Businesses, investors, foundations, NGOs and individuals may participate in the development of the Caraga Initiative through investments or philanthropic contributions. For interested business and investors, please contact Jonathan Gershon at For those interested in making a tax deductible donation, donations may be accepted via PayPal either using a PayPal account or a credit card.


On 18 Nov 2015, Global Action Platform, Global Partnership for Sustainable Solutions (GPSS) and the Indigenous People’s Economic Union (IPEU) announced the launch of an unprecedented development project for an initial 1.2 million acres in one of the richest and most biologically diverse undeveloped tropical regions remaining in the world.


The work will directly benefit poor, land-holding indigenous people and align with the UN’s recently launched Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The project, when fully implemented, will require cooperation, collaboration, and capital from foundations, government agencies, development funds, investors, corporations, and individuals.

The three partners in the effort have signed a 25-year agreement for integrated economic, social, and environmental development for the Caraga region in the Philippines.  Specifically the goal is to build a shared value economy for indigenous people through sustainable global businesses, including large-scale agricultural projects (cocoa, coffee, bananas, coconut and corn), responsible mining, and Tree Bank Initiatives to produce lumber and wood products for export and sustain the rainforest, among other sectors.

According to Dr. Scott T. Massey, Chairman and CEO, Global Action Platform, “Our goal is to set a new global standard for sustainable development in underdeveloped and rural regions.  We will work for scalable, sustainable solutions for abundant food, health, and prosperity and align the projects with the new Sustainable Development Goals, just launched by the United Nations.”

Bryan Thomas and Jonathan Gershon, Managing Partners at GPSS, add, “With our global networks and business expertise, GPSS will identify and vet socially and environmentally responsible companies and impact investors for a multi-stakeholder strategy.”

According to Sultan Kapun-on Mamakow Makapandong Julius Salahay Mabandos V, titular leader of the IPEU, “This partnership is a tremendous opportunity for our people and the world.  For the last 500 years, the indigenous people of the Philippines have been disenfranchised and have suffered hardship and deprivation in the midst of rich natural endowments. Today, we are taking our destiny into our own hands.  In forming this agreement between the IPEU and GPSS, we look to a brighter future.”

The potential for the groundbreaking new initiative was created in 1997 when the Philippine government declared IPRA Law – The Indigenous People’s Rights Act, which allows the Indigenous People of the Philippines to govern their own people, to own their land, and to manage the natural resources on their land.  As a result of this law, title to up to 10M acres in one of the world’s richest undeveloped regions has been legally transferred in large blocks back to 21 tribes.

Those desiring to learn more or to inquire regarding collaboration may contact: Dr. Scott Massey:, Bryan Thomas:, Jonathan Gershon:, or Jason Gershon:

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