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Image by Chris Sanchez

Upholding Life And Nature

the Philippines

ULAN working with an IP group in setting up markers on their ancestral domain.jpeg

ULAN envisions a just, equitable and inclusive society in a sustainable natural environment. Its mission is to promote community empowerment through law, development, and policy reform.


ULAN started in 2003 out of a desire by its founders to expressly articulate their human rights values on environmental issues using law and localized development as tools. It was established by human rights practitioners who believed that environmental issues must be discussed in the context of human rights and its broader implications on poverty and injustice. It caters primarily to marginalized sectors that have a direct link to their natural environment such as Indigenous peoples, small farmers and fisherfolk. 

ULAN is primarily a legal NGO that provides legal representation to marginalized communities involved in environmental protection, in courts and other administrative bodies. In exchange, the communities are required to engage in climate adaptation work within their communities that ultimately benefits them and other indirect beneficiaries. 

By doing so, ULAN has turned around the problem of court delay into a continuing incentive for communities to rehabilitate their natural environment. 

Because of this legal representation, ULAN has a stellar record of dismissal of harassment suits against hundreds of community leaders and members who were wrongly accused for various crimes simply for protecting their environment.

Past projects 

  • In 2007, ULAN became involved in non-partisan election work to combat large-scale electoral fraud in the Philippines. 

  • In 2012, it began to work on disability issues and has since contributed extensively in promoting PWD sensitivity, inclusive employment, accessibility rights, PWD data management amongst others. 

  • It has a policy advocacy component as well and in the last 6 years, ULAN has been successful in promoting respect for disability rights. It is likely the only environmental NGO that also works on disability issues in the Philippines.

Ongoing &  future projects 

  • Paralegal Training for Bantay-Dagat in Romblon

    • This will fund the training of community-based marine protection wardens in Romblon who protect one of the richest marine ecosystems in the Philippines from poachers. Their work ensures the food supply of the local communities and protects marine
      biodiversity from illegal fishing activities.

  • Reforestation in Tinuy-an Falls

    • This will fund the rehabilitation of degraded forest lands by the Manobo ancestral communities protecting Tinuy-an Falls. The site has also been identified as a Philippine eagle nesting site.


Ron Gutierrez (he/him)

Co-founder of ULAN

Ron is one of the founders of ULAN and is currently its Executive Director.


He is hands-on in handling the legal cases of ULAN’s partner-communities. Many of the paralegal materials developed by ULAN are a direct result of the need he saw to communicate more effectively the law and legal
procedures to the communities using popular education methods.


Aside from personally rendering the
illustrations or penning the scripts, Ron also has a short course degree on Filmmaking & Human Rights in

Support ULAN in meeting their funding needs:

Communities are encouraged to identify their own projects.  With climate impacts expected to become more severe in the coming years, adaptation projects are increasingly more important.  Support is needed to sustain community adaptation activities:

  • mangrove rehabilitation

  • reforestation activities

  • marine sanctuary establishment,

  • beach clean-ups


Funds will be used for:

  • planning

  • purchase of necessary equipment and construction materials (e.g. buoys, lookout points), transportation

Support ULAN in meeting their non-financial needs:

ULAN has a very limited social media presence but is open to volunteers who can assist it in the design and preparation of its social media platform.  In addition, it has a number of popularized paralegal training materials that it wants to convert into video format in order to make available online.

  • Volunteers:

    • Social media

    • Design

    • Video producers

See something you can help with?   
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