The Mesoamerican Reef System (MAR) is the largest transboundary reef barrier in the world (1000 kms.). MAR conservation challenges are increasing; there is an urgent need to build capacity, particularly in places where biological diversity is threatened.The MAR Leadership Program seeks to conserve the reef and its sister ecosystems by incubating high-impact conservation projects that tackle main threats to the reef.
The Mesoamerican Reef faces an array of threats, from local, land-based pollution and severe overfishing to poor tourism practices and global climate change. These threats are being addressed to varying degrees by a group of committed local and international organizations. However, a major bottleneck exists in our collective ability to make a meaningful, timely impact due to limited leadership presence in these organizations and a lack of cutting-edge project design and development capacity.
The MAR Leadership Program boosts conservation in the region by empowering local leaders from the 4 MAR countries to develop innovative and replicable projects that foster sustainable use and conservation of the Mesoamerican Reef region's coastal and marine ecosystems.
In 8 years, MAR-L has developed the strategic capacities and leadership skills of 71 Fellows from different backgrounds and from different sectors. To date, 50 marine conservation projects are being implemented; 10 Fellows have undertaken important public policy advocacy campaigns geared towards conservation; 36 fellows have advanced to positions of more responsibility in the field of conservation; 18 multinational synergies have arisen from relationships developed in the program.