The first quarter of the year has been hectic and productive. We are happy to report the progress made by the 2014 MAR Fellows in the development of their projects and their professional careers. Joanna and Mario from Guatemala, attended a workshop on Greenhouse Gases (GHG) Inventories organized by USAID, WWF, GIZ and the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, MARN. Guatemala has recently approved the Framework Law on Climate Change, which promotes initiatives that reduce emissions of GHG. Landfills, especially those with high load of organic matter, are important sources of GHG, therefore a project that reduces the amount of organic waste disposal through composting for example, will be considered as a change climate mitigation tool and therefore have greater legal and financial support. For this reason, many of the 2014 cohort fellows like Joanna and Mario are increasing their interest in this type of training to monitor the impact of conservation in their projects. Also, and as part of their project with the project entitled "Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) along the Motagua River basin and starting with the Municipality of Livingston ", Joanna and Mario have continued socializing the concept of SMM by training teachers, giving interviews at national media and organizing strategic meetings with key stakeholders such as municipal authorities.
Melissa from Guatemala finalized the process of reformation and adaptation of the National Policy for the Integrated Management of Solid Waste. Regarding her project "Guide to Develop Plans for Municipal Solid Waste Management for the town of Livingston" Melissa has incorporated the guide in the Annual Work Plan of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (MARN) and has achieved technical and financial support from the German Cooperation Agency (GIZ) and has achieved validation through the Coordinating Committee for the Integrated Solid Waste Management.
Tzahyrí from Mexico is recycling glass by creating fine arts and crafts. She learned the technique of vitromosaic with discarded bottles, glass fusing and cut glass from Mexican artisans. Tzahyrí’s objective is to develop a sustainable alternative for the glass used in Holbox Island. Through these techniques the used glass becomes souvenirs for tourism. Tzahyrí’s MAR Leadership project seeks to establish a plan for integrated management of materials in the natural protected area of Yum Balam, where Holbox is located, reducing the amount of waste reaching the landfill (glass in this case), but also, supporting the conservation of Holbox´s biodiversity by giving tourists a sustainable alternative to traditional handicrafts made from corals, sponges and starfish.
The nonprofit organization, Ocean Conservancy (OC), through its Programme Trash Free Seas (Trash Free Seas), has worked hard over the past year in an exercise to identify the most important sources of plastic pollution in the ocean with which outlined a set of solutions that match the scope and scale of the problem. OC has considered Belize as the perfect location to conduct a study because it allows them to assess the driver and barriers to success through various stages of the development of waste management. This work is being conducted by Ted S., director of DSM Environmental Services, Inc. and Emerson , 2014 Belize MAR Fellow, is helping him as the focal point of fieldwork in Belize, organizing meetings and showing Ted the waste management system of various districts of Belize. We are very excited about this new partnership with Ocean Conservancy.
Pablo, 2010 Mexico MAR Fellow, through Oceanus International, is working on a project to clean the FONATUR marina in Cozumel, considering all the environmental conditions. This will help FONATUR avoid dispersion of sediment plumes that may damage the reef, among other negative effects that have impacted in previous projects the reef of Cozumel Marine Park. Oceanus International is also constantly working on the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya, where Pablo works in the project “Better Than A Beach” conditioning the hotel beach carefully following all environmental standards.
Maricarmen , 2010 MAR Fellow, reports to us from the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas of Mexico where she works, about the territorial expansion of the queen conch fishing ban until November 2017 and ranging from Punta Herrero to Xcalak, Quintana Roo. “Little by little we are increasing the ban area”- Maricarmen said. We want to congratulate her and the Fishermen Cooperatives from Banco Chinchorro, Langosteros del Caribe, and Andrés Quintana Roo for this initiative. After 10 years as director of Banco Chinchorro Biosphere Reserve and Xcalak Reef National Park, Maricarmen has recently been appointed as Director of the Whale Shark Biosphere Reserve and Isla Contoy National Park, on the northern tip of the MAR region.
Angela, from Guatemala and Carlos, from Mexico, both 2012 MAR Fellows, received a scholarship to participate in the environmental economics for coastal ecosystems online course "Coastal Conservation Economics", which is being developed through a partnership between Conservation Strategy Fund (CSF) and Duke University - Nicholas Institute. The course began in January and will last until May, with students from around the world. This course will significantly extend the capabilities of Angela and Carlos as to understand how institutional and market failures lead to the degradation of marine and coastal ecosystems. They will discuss political and economic tools to remedy these faults, and even they will have a focus on how the valuation of environmental services is influencing decision makers in developing conservation policies.
"La Garza" the researching vessel from the Foundation for Eco-development and Conservation (FUNDAECO), a Guatemalan nonprofit organization, celebrated its second anniversary. Transforming "La Garza" into a floating marine researching center that seeks to mobilize the collective interest on the environmental problems of the Gulf of Honduras, was the MAR Leadership project of Karen, 2010 MAR Fellow Guatemala and Director of Institutional Development at FUNDAECO.
In response to the regional need to monitor and balance the fishing of sharks and rays in Guatemala, an Advisory Committee for Sharks and Rays was established. The organization is run by the Directorate for Fisheries and Aquaculture Regulations of Guatemala (DIPESCA) and the non-profit Fundación Mundo Azul, with the participation of the National Council of Protected Areas (CONAP), the diving school Water Quest and organizations like Healthy Reefs Initiative (represented in Guatemala by Ana 2011 MAR Fellow, the Center for the Marine studies and Aquaculture (CEMA) at the University of San Carlos of Guatemala, "MarAlliance" and " Shark Legacy Project "coordinated by Giacomo, 2012 MAR Fellow Honduras. In January this committee held a meeting to support the implementation of international conventions and laws by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). "We need to educate and raise awareness on the importance of sharks and rays for the balance of coastal marine ecosystems, on how to promote sustainable fisheries for the economy of fishing communities and on the need to diversify fishermen´s economic activities," said Giacomo.
We have the 2015 cohort theme!
In the first quarter of the year we finished shaping the 2015 cohort theme, which will focus on the valuation and conservation of mangroves along the SAM region. In January, the MAR Leadership team traveled through the four countries gathering information and identifying key stakeholders, and met in Mexico City with the Executive Committee of the program to define the regional vision of the 2015 cohort. The regional vision for 2015 is to achieve zero deforestation of mangroves in the SAM within the next 10 years, with middle-term targets (5 years) including the protection of at least 40,000 hectares of mangroves (equivalent to 20% of the current coverage) and the valuation of ecosystem services as a reality in at least 5 locations in the region.
The 2015 MAR Fellows cohort call for applications will be published in May. Follow the process in our website and social networks!
Thank so much for your support to the MAR Leadership Program!!!
Dear friends and supporters!
We wanted to tell you how appreciative we are of your support to the Mesoamerican Reef Leadership Program in 2014! Your belief in our mission of a healthy reef with prosperous communities has allowed us to strengthen the capacities and leadership skills of young conservationists in Mexico (Quintana Roo), Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras to help them launch marine and coastal conservation projects.
We wish you a happy end of the year and a positive start to 2015.
MAR Leadership Team
Here are some updates of our fellows and their projects:
On October 8th 2014 MAR Fellow Melissa Alvarez was invited by the Ministry of Natural Resources (Mesoamerican Biological Corridor) in Guatemala to present the MAR Leadership Program and the Livingston Integrated Waste Management project in the National Policy Management Group Meeting which was held in Puerto Barrios. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss integrated coastal and marine management in Guatemala. 30 representatives of institutions and other groups from Livingston and Puerto Barrios municipalities participated.
2010 MAR Fellow Pablo Besquin’s project: modular artificial reef AMA® was launched in 2009 when he installed an artificial reef barrier at the NH Hotel in Puerto Morelos. This project seeks to restore the coastal area of Quintana Roo and avoid the continuous erosion of the beaches. Given its positive impact in restoring the beach at NH Hotel a second group of artificial reefs has been authorized and will be installed in November 2014. Catalonia Hotel in Puerto Aventuras has also signed an agreement to install a reef barrier. Additionally to protecting the coast, this artificial barrier reef will contribute to the coral eco-system conservation, since it will become a fish aggregating site for tourist attraction, which will reduce the pressure of tourists and fishermen on the natural reef areas.
Paradisus Playa del Carmen the hotel where Carlos Segura (2012 MAR Fellow) works as Environmental Manager, signed an agreement with Oceanus, A.C. (2011 MAR Fellow Gabriela Nava’s organization) to raise funds for her Coral Restoration Project which is the first project in Mexico that restores reef areas by transplanting coral colonies grown in nurseries. The hotel has placed two boxes in the Welcome launch for this project. This is a clear example of how the MAR Leadership Network is working.
In September Giacomo Palavicini (2012 MAR Fellow, Honduras) gave a TED talk on sharks at TEDxTegucigalpa which gathered distinguished personalities whose ideas and actions are helping Honduras to make a better country. Giacomo Palavicini is a renowned oceanographer and Executive Director of Roatan Marine Park and is making possible the consolidation of a culture for the preservation of Honduras marine resources. Giacomo’s participation’ at TedxTegucigalpa was recognized by the Mexican Ambassador in Honduras in a private meeting and in the Embassy’s newsletter.
Climbing the career ladder
Yashin Dujon (2010 MAR Fellow from Belize) is the new Environmental and Community Relations Officer at Harvest Caye. Harvest Caye is a new destination -- comprising two adjoining islands which are “eco-friendly”. Yashin is working on Developing the Eco-Adventure First Port that will be ISO 14001 Certified. There is a lot of public contention around it so he is revising the education and interpretation Programmes to meet ISO 14001 criteria and standards.
Oceanus A.C. Congratulations!
The organization Oceanus AC, which MAR Fellow 2011Gabriela Nava is a founding partner, won an Honorable Mention for the 2014 Conservation of Nature Award in the Category of Civil Organizations, an award given annually by the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas of Mexico (CONANP).
Raising awareness of new generations
In August, Ian Drysdale (2010 MAR Fellow), Jenny Myton (2010 MAR Fellow) and Giacomo Palavicini (2012 MAR Fellow) of Honduras gave a master lesson at the Escuela Agricola Panamericana El Zamorano where they share their experiences on sustainable management of sharks and marine protected areas.
Exhibition in Cozumel
In October Javier Rojas (2010 MAR Fellow from Mexico) gave a presentation on "Results of the study: Business perception towards sustainable development in the north of Quintana Roo" developed in 2011 by Sustainable Development Consultancy for Tourism Enterprises (CODESUET) with support from the Leadership Program. Javier also shared his experience on Green Globe certification with the students of the Master of Management and Audit at the University of Quintana Roo in Cozumel.
Sustainable Tourism Expo
Vicente Ferreyra (2010 MAR Fellow) and Fernando del Valle (2014 MAR Fellow) participated as speakers at the Sustainable Tourism Expo which took place 15 - 17 October at the Palladium Hotel Tulum. Vicente presented the successful community tourism project Mayan Ka'an and Fernando spoke about the MARTI Certification. Both are emerging as true leaders and experts in the field of responsible tourism in Quintana Roo and other MAR countries.
Cozumel Scuba Fest 2014
The Cozumel Scuba Fest 2014 took place on December 9-14th. This event annually brings together the diving community of Quintana Roo and international divers. This year the event was attended by explorer Jean-Michel Cousteau. Scuba Fest's vision is to promote corporate social responsibility in in diving companies of Cozumel and Riviera Maya who are willing to protect the coral reef barrier and provide high quality services. The event also creates awareness in the local community regarding the importance of protecting the marine ecosystem and promotes concrete actions from the local government and regional NGOs. The Mexican Fund for the Conservation of Nature (FMCN), through the MAR Leadership Program (MAR Leadership) was invited to participate as an exhibitor. In representation of the program several MAR Fellows from different generations joined us in the event: Javier Rojas (2010), Tzahyrí Peraza (2014), among others managed to showcase their projects. As a result of the event, FMCN managed to position itself as a strong conservation organization in the world of professional divers. In addition, we were invited to participate in a congress for graduate students at the University of Quintana Roo in Cozumel where the MAR Leadership Program was presented and of great interest to teachers and students. It was therefore a pleasant experience that we hope to repeat in subsequent years.
Third workshop for the 2014 Cohort in Roatan
From 1 -9 November, 2014, the third workshop of 2014 cohort took place in Roatan, Honduras. It was a technically complex workshop due to the degree of progress in the strategic plans of each project and the challenges that naturally brings personal interactions within each team, but also very successful thanks to the work of consultants and the MAR Leadership team. As always, the trainings were of very high standard, this time including four international experts through videoconference.
It was also a very productive workshop in terms of the regional synergies that came up. We saw alliances between Fellows from different teams and countries with common goals and experiences, working together in strengthening their projects and generating invocative solutions to the solid waste problem. An example is the collaboration between 2014 MAR Fellows Emerson García (Belize), Mario Salazar (Guatemala) and David Barahona (Roatan) who are planning a parallel initiative to their projects in order to transport recoverable materials from Punta Gorda and Roatan and transport them to Puerto Barrios where Mario (recycling entrepreneur) will process and recycle them.
During the Solid Waste Management Forum the Bay Islands Departmental Governor and the mayors of the two municipalities on the island of Roatan, signed an unprecedented agreement in which they expressed their willingness to collaborate with the sustainable management of materials project in Roatan and support MAR Fellows projects from other previous cohorts. Following this event, we are planning a visit from these authorities and possibly those from Belize and Guatemala to Mexico to learn about how this problem is dealt.
1. What are the MAR Fellows doing…?
The Board of Experts for the sustainable management of materials in the Yum Balam APFFYB. On July 29th, a meeting in Kantunilkín, head of Lázaro Cárdenas Municipality, Quintana Roo, Mexico, was held with members of the municipality, the Commission for Natural Protected Areas (CONANP, by its Spanish acronym) represented by Denisse Angeles (2014 MAR Fellow), the Association of the Riviera Maya Hotels with Fernando del Valle (2014 MAR Fellow), the civil society organizations with Tzahyrí Peraza (2014 MAR Fellow) and with the support of the Mexican Fund for the Conservation of Nature with Elisa Lopez (Leadership ). The purpose of the meeting was the sum of multisectorial efforts to implement an integral plan for the sustainable management of the materials in the area. Despite the complicated situation due to a long history of tensions, the meeting was a success reaching very promising agreements for future actions.
TreadRight Award - Contiki to the best conservation and sustainable tourism project. Tzahyrí Peraza (2014 MAR Fellow) project which is focused on the creation of a recycling micro enterprise on the island of Holbox and Carlos Segura (2012 MAR Fellow) to promote the consumption of lionfish through the strengthening of the cooperatives, were selected by the TreadRight Foundation and Contiki Holidays to receive a scholarship of $ 4,500 USD each to carry out their projects. Congratulations Fellows!
Chain of bottles for a good cause. The 2014 MAR Fellows Tzahyrí Peraza, Lemuel Mena, and Fernando Valle were joined into more than a network, a rather real living chain from the Island of Cozumel to the Island of Holbox to reduce plastic consumption of a secondary school. Organized by Tzahyrí, Lemuel took 150 high quality sport thermos accumulated after the events of Iron Man Cozumel Test in the materials collection center of the island and through the ferry moved them to Playa del Carmen. There Fernando took the witness (the thermos) and transported them by road to Cancun, in where Tzahyrí received them and finally by bus, taxi and ferry, delivered them in the Holbox school. For years, in the dining facility of the school (on its way to become the first "zero plastic school" of Mexico thanks to the constant efforts of Tzahyrí) more than 600 PET bottles after a single use were discarded; and yet behind this initiative, the thermos of Cozumel are reused every day producing zero plastic waste. Good for you Fellows!
2. Successful Workshop in Guatemala
From the 23rd to 30th of August, 2014, the 2014 MAR Leadership Cohort attended the third leadership workshop that took place between Guatemala City and Rio Dulce, in the Guatemala's Caribbean.
During the first three days of the workshop, the consultants Mark Lichtenstein and Laura Cardoso from the Syracuse Center Solutions for Sustainable Communities, provided feedback in regards the progress made by fellows’ teams, and provided interesting training on communication strategies, disclosure and education, facilitation of debates and socio-cultural factors affecting the resolution of communitarian conflicts. The consultant Izarelly Rosillo talked about the progress in the reform of the General Law for the Prevention and Management of Waste (LGPGIR, by its Spanish acronym) in Mexico, amendment in which she and Dr. Cristina Cortinas (who could not join us in Guatemala due to health problems) are very active participants. Dr. Rosillo also provided the group with a training about argumentation techniques. The workshop was also attended by Carlos Saavedra from the Summit Foundation and six fellows of previous cohorts that accompanied us along through different points of the workshop.
Following the successful Cozumel´s induction workshop model, a Forum on Integrated Solid Waste Management in the countries of the MAR was organized, which on this occasion had the honor of having, as the venue, the main auditorium of the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala (UVG ) in Guatemala City. The event was a success comparable to the previous one with an abundant audience throughout the day and with the presence of representatives of the central government of Guatemala, as well as of the City of Livingston in the Department of Izabal, in where the 2014 leadership project in Guatemala focuses its efforts; members of the most representative civil society organizations related to managing solid waste in the country were present too. Throughout the day, the fellows shared their projects, experiences and concerns with all of them.
The second half of the week began with a field trip to the Amatitlán Lake, which was guided by the experts of the Authority for the Sustainable Management of the Amatitlán Watershed and Lake (AMSA, by its Spanish acronym) and to the associated landfill. The rest of the week was held in Rio Dulce, Izabal, where the introspection and personality analysis workshop ran by the Psychologist Carlos Terzano was developed. Finally, La Garza School Boat took us through the canyons of the Rio Dulce up to its mouth in Puerto Barrios, where we finally disembark to go back to Guatemala City.
In conclusion, it was a very exciting workshop, filled of emotions, learnings, as well as new challenges to which no fellow was indifferent.
3. International Beach Cleaning
On September 21, the MAR Leadership Program joined Ocean Conservancy Initiative on the Beach International Day, accompanying them on beaches along Quintana Roo, Mexico. Last year, Ocean Conservancy worldwide collected 12,329,332 pounds (approx. 5,600 tons) of trash along 12.914 miles of shoreline, of which Mexico collected about 50 tons. Data from 2014 have not yet been published, but the expectations are very high! This has been a great initiative to keep our shores free of debris, for the Leadership Program as well as for the MAR Fellows to support.
4. The World Water Week Twitter Chat
On September 3rd, within the framework of the World Water Week, an open forum on Twitter was held to discuss today´s issues on the global water crisis and the future of this resource. This event was organized by the TreadRight Foundation. MAR Leadership project officer, Elisa Lopez was invited as panelist to participate in the event.
5. Negotiation and Conflict Resolution Workshop
During July 24th and 25th a Negotiation and Conflict Resolution Workshop was held at the Akumal Ecological Center, Quintana Roo, Mexico, taught by Rosario Espinoza (from the Center for Civic Collaboration) and organized by the Kay Kanan Alliance, in which the Mexican Fund for the Conservation of Nature is a member. The goal of the workshop was to strengthen the dialogue, listening and effective negotiation skills of Alliance partners. In the training both MAR Leadership Program director, Maria Eugenia Arreola and the project officer, Elisa Lopez participated.
Dear MAR Leadership friends:
We are happy to share with you our latest deveopments. I hope you find this report interesting.
New 2014 MAR Leadership cohort
We are proud to present the MAR Leadership 2014 Cohort. Their projects will focus on Sustainable Materials Management. 2014 MAR Fellows are: Tanya Barona from Punta Gorda Belize, Emerson Garcia from Belmopan, Belize, Mario Salazar, From Puerto Barrios, Guatemala, Joanna Giron from Guatemala City, Melissa Alvarez from Guatemala City, Laura Palmese from Tegucilgalpa, Honduras, Cindy Flores from Roatan Honduras, David Barahona from Roatan, Honduras, Lemuel Manases from Cozumel, Mexico, Monica Alba from Cancun, Mexico, Fernando del Valle from Playa del Carmen, Mexico, Denise Solis from Kantunilkín, Mexico and Tzahyri Peraza from Holbox, Mexico.Check them out at http://liderazgosam.org/generation-2014-solid-waste-management/?lang=en
This year, the MAR Leadership Program has the "regional vision" of fostering integrated waste management systems and preventing environmental pollution. These actions will positively impact the reef and public health in five communities (Holbox and Cozumel in Mexico; Punta Gorda in Belize; Livingston in Guatemala, and Roatán in Honduras). In order to overcome this conservation challenge, 2014 MAR Fellows will use the Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) approach which emphasizes source reduction, materials reuse, composting, recycling, job creation, and regional economic development as alternatives to ordinary disposal methods.
Monica and Lemuel’s project is: An Integrated Programe for Sustainable Materials Management in Cozumel Island. Denisse, Tzahyri and Fernando will design and implement the project: Integrated Waste Management Plan in the Natural Protected Area of Yum Balam (Which includes Holbox). Mario, Melissa and Joanna’s project is: Solid Waste Management in Livingston, a Pilot Project that can be Replicated in Coastal and Marine Areas. David, Laura and Cindy’s project is Sustainable Materials Management through economic political, educational and social development.
Successful Inception Workshop for the 2014 cohort, 22 – 28 June 2014 in Cozumel, México
During the workshop, Cristina Cortinas, Izarelly Rosillo, and the team from Syracuse Center for Sustainable Community Solutions, led by Mark Lichtenstein and Laura Cardoso assisted 2014 fellows in developing their project ideas and integrating them into one project for each selected community. Andrés Jorge González engaged all in an interactive storytelling course. Eda Roth (former Broadway actress and communication consultant) taught fellows how to ensure that the audience pays attention to their presentation and how to speak in public. A forum for solid waste management was also held. The objective of this forum was to open a space for government officials and members of the various sectors who are interested in integrated solid waste management system in Quintana Roo, exchange ideas and experiences with MAR Leadership consultants and fellows.
During the workshop, we took a field trip to visit Cozumel’s sanitary landfill and visited the transfer station where waste is collected and recycled. In the afternoon we embarked to Cozumel Reefs National Park. We visited Colombia Bajo Reef: this site, located within a Protected Area, is one of the island’s healthiest reefs. Various species of living coral, groups of fish, sea turtles and other species are present. Because the site is frequented by tourists, the implementation of good practices by tour operators and tourists alike is essential.
New MAR Leadership team
The MAR Leadership team has recently evolved. Elisa López joined us in April as Project Officer. Elisa studied her career in oceanography at the University of Vigo, Spain and at the Arctic University of Norway. She got a MSc in Marine Sciences and Limnology from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). After some years travelling and enrrolled in oceanographic campaigns, Elisa has spent the last four years teaching and researching the Mesoamerican Reef. She worked for The School for Field Studies (SFS) in the Turks and Caicos Islands and Global Vision International (GVI) in Mahahual, Mexico. Thalia Medina is the new Program’s Administrative Assistant. Thalia earned her bachelor’s degree in Institutional Management at Universidad Panamericana, and she has a multidisciplinary background that has allowed her to develop in both public and private institutions. She has collaborated with IMPULSA JA Worldwide, organizing and coordinating educational programs for children and youth. We prize Thalia’s ability to solve problems so that the program runs smoothly, as well as her attention to detail. Alejandra Iñigo is supporting the program in the area of communication and social networks. Alejandra is currently studying Neurosciences and is teaching mathemathics. She is co-founder of Glía Centro de Aprendizaje where she develops communication strategies. Her passion is to share knowledge and continuous learning is the reason why she likes to work in the MAR Leadership Program.
To see the photos download the PDF report
¡THANK YOU DONORS!
The MAR Leadership Program thanks our donors, including individual donors fromGlobalGiving,for their support and generosity.
We hope you enjoy it and thank you very much for your continued support MAR Leadership Program!
The MAR Leadership Team
Dear friends of MAR Leadership,
The end of 2013 is upon us, and we want to take this moment to share with you some of the things that we did this year in MAR Leadership.
2013 was a year of challenges and opportunities, reflection and learning. A year in which we proudly saw MAR Fellows shine and reach their personal and professional goals. Many of them obtained new positions and responsibilities; all of them achieved great things, promoting information exchange and synergies with their colleagues and contacts.
We’re attaching an end-of-year newsletter that describes the year in greater depth.
Thank you for your collaboration and support. We hope that 2014 is a great year for you and that we all continue working together for the Mesoamerican Reef System.
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