Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef

by Fondo Mexicano para la Conservacion de la Naturaleza, A.C.
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Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
Help Local Leaders Save the Mesoamerican Reef
2016 cohort during 2nd workshop
2016 cohort during 2nd workshop

Dear friends, partners and followers,

It is with great pleasure that we share with you our latest news!

This first half of 2017 have been very busy for MAR Leadership with 2 workshops, one webinar, one Summit and many more! Let’s find out:

Second and third workshops of the 2016 cohort on Blue Economy:

The second workshop of the 2016 cohort, designing projects to promote the Blue Economy model, took place in Tela, Honduras. Eda Roth, actress and coach shared techniques of public speaking and how to speak with the media. Her training was intense, as she led them to overcome their fears and get out of their comfort zone. Fellows were impressed by the feedback they received during the presentation exercises and were convinced of the progress they made thanks to her.

Kim Bonine, Aaron Brunner and Angela Mojica of Conservation Strategy Fund (CSF) trained Fellows in the Economic Valuation tool. Economic valuation tool studies the monetary value of the benefit of an environmental service from the point of view of human welfare, the intrinsic value of an ecosystem being intangible. Learn more and read their blog entry about the workshop.
Ángela Mojica, 2012 Fellow, presented a case study of economic valuation in Cozumel. Aaron Brunner and his colleagues gave feedback to Fellows who will apply this economic tool in their projects: among them are Adrian Villegas, Milton Alvarado and Alejandro López. Five honduran Fellows from other cohorts also participated in this training.

Nombre de Dios National Park was the site selected for the field trip. Milton Alvarado, Fellow from Honduras presented his project. The group met with the comanagers of the park, who presented their payment for ecosystems services project as well as the details of the financing mechanism implemented. Some of the funds collected through the payment for fresh water service are being used for the development and maintenance of the tourism infrastructure in Laguna Cacao which Fellows were able to visit on the Park's boats.

The third section of the workshop was dedicated to the design of a communication strategy for effective advocacy by Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide (ELAW) mentors Lori Maddox and Alejandra Serrano. Through practical exercises and case studies, Fellows analyzed the different crucial stages of a communication campaign and then designed the advocacy campaign for their own projects. Laura Palmese and Cindy Flores of the 2014 cohort presented an environmental activism campaign in Honduras that was well received by their peers. 

Fellows met again in May at Livingston, Caribbean Guatemala for their cohort’s third workshop. MAR Leadership team trained Fellows on how to effectively design projects for impact conservation following the steps of MAR Leadership manual. The Fellows carried out the situational analysis of their own projects, their theory of change as well as the results chain necessary to achieve their objectives. They identified their key stakeholders and started a strategy to involve them.

Alfonso Malky of the Conservation Strategy Fund, mentor of the 2016 generation, spent the first two days of the week training, dynamically and interactively, with a variety of examples, exercises and case studies on the basics of Cost Benefit Analysis. Fellows learned how to design cash flows in order to analyze the costs and benefits of a project from the different perspectives: financial, economic and fiscal. Alfonso demonstrated, as a detailed analysis of the different approaches could identify from financial or environmental problems to social conflicts possibly generated by a poorly designed project. A CBA makes it possible to define whether a project is profitable or convenient for different sectors of society and thus avoid serious losses. The Fellows, Alejandra, John, Areli, Michelle and Juan planning on using of CBA tool presented their projects and received valuable feedback, advice and recommendations from Alfonso, the MARL team and their peers.

An interesting videoconference with Dr Ottoniel Monterroso, Rafael Landivar University, familiarized the Fellows with a case of study using economic tools for the implementation of a biological connectivity reserve and the design of an environmental services payment mechanism in Guatemala. The group had the opportunity to meet Puerto Barrios, where the project of Michelle Villatoro takes place. Representatives of DVG Services and Control of Industrial Spills, S.A. presented the different ways to deal with spill accidents that can occur in ports and coasts. They highlighted the vulnerability of our region and ecosystems to these types of accidents and the lack of response capacity of our countries.

The third phase of the workshop focused on the power of narrative for strategic communication with Mariana Mendoza of the Center for Story-based Strategy. Through videos, exercises and dynamics, the Fellows were able to analyze the different elements of a story, to observe how the assumptions and perspectives of the audience could influence the way of telling a story. Mariana showed them the different tools used by CSS from the analysis of the narrative, the dramatic triangle and the points of intervention. Lori Maddox enriched the presentations with a case study of communication campaign for indigenous rights in Belize. Fellows were able to familiarize themselves with the techniques of narrative and reflected on the assumptions, the actors, the frames and the images that their own projects needed to address.

Guatemalan Fellows Cleopatra Méndez, Blanca Rosa García, José Domingo Caal, Cesar Zacarías and Guillermo Galvez joined the group and exchanged experiences, strengthening the MAR leadership network.

 

Cost Benefit Analyzes Webinar

On Tuesday, March 28th, we organized an online seminar about cost-benefit analyzes for marine ecosystem conservation. Nicolas Pascal, project director of the organization Blue Finance, an expert in environmental finance, extensively described this economic tool to the Fellows. Multiple case studies from the MAR region illustrated his dynamic presentation. Afterwards, Nicolas answered the numerous questions of the Fellows. You can access the webinar recording here

Sustainable and Social Tourism Summit

2010 Fellow Vicente Ferreyra from Mexico and his consulting firm for Sustainable Tourism, Sustentur, continue to grow and generate positive impacts in the tourism industry not only in Quintana Roo but also internationally. Thus, within the framework of the Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development declared by the United Nations, Vicente has organized the 2017 Sustainable and Social Tourism Summit in Cancún. 

The event was supported by Mexico's Tourism Ministry (Sectur), the Mexico Tourism Promotion Council (CPTM), the Quintana Roo Tourism Secretariat (Sedetur), the Cancun Visitors and Conventions Bureau (OVC), as well as the organizations EarthCheck and the International Organization of Social Tourism.
From May, 4th to 6th, the Sustainable & Social Tourism Summit has been a space for meeting and reference in the world for the dissemination, updating and exchange of knowledge on the topics of sustainability, solidarity and social responsibility in tourism. International leaders in responsible tourism industry, governments and organizations will present trends, news and case studies to be replicated in the world. The Summit attended 3 main themes: Tourism for Development, Tourism and Social Equity, and Tourism and Natural Capital. Aside, was also held the 8th Sustainable Tourism Exhibit: a space dedicated to promoting actions, products and services that seek the construction of a sustainable and socially responsible tourism.

Fellows for sustainable fisheries in the Mesoamerican Reef

The Wildlife Conservation Society-Belize, with MAR Fellows Ralna Lewis (2015) and Julio Maaz (2016), in partnership with Leonel Requena (2012) from the UNDvpmt Fund- Small Grant Program, Adriel Castañeda (2012) and Isabel Martínez (2016) from the Belize Fisheries Department hosted a Fisheries Forum on 21 and 22 april, at the Glovers reef research station. Attendees for the forum included Sarteneja Fishermen Association, Hopkins FA and Chunox FA. The objective was to provide an avenue for the exchange of information among fishers and managers. Topics discussed included benefits of MPAs, fisheries regulations, project of fisheries replenishment zones, managed access and the role of fishers associations in fisheries management.

The discussions were rich and fruitful. In conclusion, it was recognized that there is a need for continued and effective communication among all parties, in order to ensure the protection of the fishing industry and Belize’s marine resources.

Julio Maaz, is an expert on small-scale sustainable fisheries at WCS. He shared his knowledge on the Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool or SMART with the MAR Leadership network in Honduras. 
At the beginning of the year, Julio and several Honduran MAR Fellows such as Diana Vasquez (Centro de Estudios Marinos), Ian Drysdale (2010, Healthy Reefs Initiative), Jenny Myton (2010, CORAL), Pamela Ortega (2012, CORAL) and Cindy Flores 2014, (Instituto de Conservación Forestal) organized a workshop for the use of SMART for fisheries management. SMART, is an open source application developed by WCS and other partners to collect, store, communicate and evaluate data collected by park rangers during their patrols. This innovative management tool seeks to help in the fight against illegal activities that endanger natural resources. This workshop complements the recent exchange of experiences between Belize and Honduras with Isabel Martinez from the Belize Fisheries Department on the national fisheries management program based on Managed Access rights.

In Mexico, Kim Ley Cooper, 2011 Fellow and his organization Colectividad Razonatura A.C., committed to the sustainable use of coastal marine resources, started a project with the Slow Food network: Slow Fish in the Caribbean.
Slow Food is an organization that unites the pleasure of good food with a commitment to local communities and the environment. It seeks to counteract the rise of fast food and prevent the disappearance of local gastronomic traditions. Slow Fish in the Caribbean, funded by the European Union, has as its main objective the protection of marine biodiversity and the development of sustainable use models of food resources in protected areas. The enthusiastic Slow Fish network seeks to enhance traditional knowledge and strengthen the technical and administrative skills of local communities, helping them to improve natural resource management and diversify productive activities. Kim participates in the project with the lobster fishing cooperatives of the Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve and the Banco Chinchorro Biosphere Reserve to carry out training activities around different topics, including integrated management of marine resources, alternative economic activities to fishing and the creation of monitoring systems.

Hondurean 2012 Fellow Mariela Ochoa from Center for Marine Studies has been invited to participate at the international event "Slow Fish Caribe 2017: La rete siamo noi (The network is us)" which took place in the Old Port of Genoa, Italy. Her talk "Contributing to Improve the Management of Coastal Marine Resources in Honduras" aims to demonstrate the role of communities, academia, industry, local governments, central government and citizen organizations. More than 90 citizen organizations, authorities, academic institutions and companies related to the marine world participated in the event.

Synergies between MAR Fellows keep the MAR Leadership Network active, strengthening ties between its participants and facilitating processes at the regional level.

Thank you so much for your support and stay tuned for our next news including 2016 cohort graduation, advances from Fellows’ projects and MAR Leadership Program next call for application!

For more information follows us at http://liderazgosam.org/en/ and https://www.facebook.com/MARLeadership/

Storytelling in Livingston, Guatemala
Storytelling in Livingston, Guatemala
Belize Fisheries Forum organized by Fellows
Belize Fisheries Forum organized by Fellows
Cost Benefits Webinar with Nicolas Pascal
Cost Benefits Webinar with Nicolas Pascal

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Sign the pledge!
Sign the pledge!

Mesoamerican Reef Day: sign the Tulum+ 20 pledge!

Today, March, 10th, we celebrate a very special day for us: the Mesoamerican Reef Day!

Being one the most diverse ecosystems on the planet, the Mesoamerican Reef is is the world’s largest transboundary barrier reef, home to two million people from different cultures. Collaboration efforts among the four countries started 20 years ago in 1997, when the heads of State of Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and Honduras singed the Tulum Declaration to promote MAR conservation through its sustainable use. Although great work has been done towards its protection were born since then, the MAR still faces great challenges and needs the renewed commitment from the four countries' authorities. This is why MAR Fund and MAR Leadership Program/FMCN launch the Tulum+20 pledge.

Mesoamerican Reef Day: know our incredible backyard!

The Mesoamerican Reef system (MAR or MBRS) is the world’s largest transboundary barrier reef, encompassing 1000 km of coastline, from the northeast end of the Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico, to the Bay Islands in Honduras. The MAR ecoregion includes oceanic habitats, coastal zones, tropical forests, and the Caribbean draining watersheds of Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico. The area is extremely important biologically and economically, with coral reefs, seagrasses and mangroves that provide resources and critical protection against tropical storms. Over two million people including Garifunas, Qeqchi, Maya, and Creole live in the ecoregion and depend on the integrity and resilience of the reef in order to maintain their livelihoods, as well as the national economies of the four countries.

The main threats to the MAR are well known –local land-based pollution sources such as solid waste, municipal and industrial sewage, effluents from shrimp farming and agriculture, and severe overfishing to poor coastal & tourism development and global threats such as climate change (including increase in ocean temperature, coral bleaching, acidification, etc.). Current environmental problems need effective multinational responses.

The Tulum Declaration: an international commitment to protect the MAR 

As a continuation of the dialogue and cooperation between Central America and Mexico, initiated through the Tuxtla Agreements and following up the International Year of Coral Reefs, the Mesoamerican Reef System initiative was made official in June 5, 1997, when the heads of state of Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras, and Belize signed the Tulum Declaration where they agreed to promote the conservation of the reef system through its sustainable use, thereby contributing to the welfare of present and future generations. 

The MAR region has become a global leader in adaptive management and the active implementation of management actions that are now starting to show ecological results. The MAR now boasts a network of more than 65 coastal and marine protected areas, and almost all of them are under active management. Thirty-six percent of the territorial sea in the MAR is within protected areas, although only 3% is fully protected from fishing. In Belize, spawning aggregations are protected; reef-associated herbivorous fish are protected in Belize, Guatemala, and the Bay Islands of Honduras; a region-wide ban on shark finning has been implemented, and no-take protected areas acting as fish refuges are being created to recover ecosystems and commercial fisheries. Although the advances over the past 20 years are substantial, more needs to be done to protect the MAR from continuing threats to the natural capital it embodies. 

COP 13 of CBD: a platform to renew the commitment

The COP 13 that was held in Cancun in December 2016, where about 10,000 participants gathered to negotiate agreements and commitments that promote the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. (read our post: link blog COP)

As the host of such important event, Mexico announced the establishment of four new Natural Protected Areas and five Safeguard Areas, placing an additional 65 million hectares under protection. The Mexican Caribbean Biosphere Reserve, the largest marine protected area off the coast of Quintana Roo (5.7 million hectares), will protect almost 50% of the Mesoamerican reef system, where hydrocarbon exploration and extraction will be prohibited. With this action, Mexico has not only joined the small group of countries that have met the Aichi Target to protect 10% of its marine territory, but more than doubled this goal by protecting 23%.

During the COP13, MAR Fund, Fondo Mexicano para la Conservación de la Naturaleza, AC (FMCN)/ Mesoamerican Reef Leadership Program (MAR-L) and HRI organized two events called Tulum +20 Declaration for the Mesoamerican Reef and Well-being and Blue Economy attended by 130 people in total. Representatives from both state and municipal governments, Civil Society Organizations (CSO), and academia attended both events. In both events achievements in conservation and sustainable use of coastal and marine resources, regional mechanisms as drivers of change in the Mesoamerican Reef since the Declaration of Tulum in 1997 were presented.

Tulum+20: a pledge for Blue Economy to protect the MAR

Although the MAR countries' ministers did not attend the Tulum +20 events, we put forth the idea to gather one million signatures from throughout the MAR region to call for the ratification of the Tulum Declaration. On June 5 of 2017, 20 years will have passed since Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras first committed to conserving the Mesoamerican Reef System through its sustainable use.

Now, Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and Honduras need to take their commitment to the MAR a step further. Currently, four pressing concerns threaten to drastically hurt the health of the MAR: discharge of effluents and contaminants, including sewage; unsustainable coastal development, including mangrove destruction; chronic pressure on fisheries and insufficient enforcement, and climate change impacts on the reef.

To address these threats, the Governments of Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and Honduras must pledge to protect the reef through renewing the commitment to the Tulum Declaration and take actions to ensure the health of the reef and the people that depend on it. These actions will preserve the resources and natural processes that are the basis for propelling the Blue Economy as the foundation of the sustainable development of the four countries and the region.

Join us and sign the petition to tell the heads of state of the four countries to renew the Tulum Declaration and commit to the reef!

The MAR: cultural and biological treasure
The MAR: cultural and biological treasure
Adaptative management in MPAs
Adaptative management in MPAs
Raise your voice
Raise your voice

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2016 MARL cohort at first workshop
2016 MARL cohort at first workshop

Dear friends, partners and followers,

Fall has been full of activities for our Fellows and MAR Leadership team!

First workshop of the 2016 cohort on Blue Economy

In September was held the first workshop of the 2016 cohort on Blue Economy. During this first meeting, MAR Leadership Team and Fellows had the opportunity to meet each other and learn about the importance of economic basics for natural resources conservation.  Dr. Charles Colgan, Research Director at the Center for Blue Economy in Monterrey, CA, talked about the Blue Economy approach, its components and opportunities to integrate natural capital into the economy of the region. Experts from Conservation Strategy Fund (CSF) taught Fellows the economic basics through theory and case studies. Mentors were surprised about how ambitious proved all projects to be, provided feedback and raised questions to Fellows in order to identify their needs, adapt their future training and direct them towards more akin economic tools for their projects. Mexican Fellows from former cohorts participated: they shared their experiences with the 2016 cohort, thus strengthening the network of MAR Leadership. The third phase of the workshop addressed the self-knowledge and use of a behavioral analysis tool called Personal Development Analysis (PDA) by Psychologist Carlos Terzano. 

What are fellows up to?

2016 Fellows are currently working on their projects' situational analysis and theory of change. CSF mentors are reviewing their reports and adapting their training based on each Fellow’s need. Each economic tool used or proposed by Fellows is going to be analyzed and developed during the next workshops. 

Synergies are already taking place within the 2016 cohort: Diana Vasquez, from the Center for Marine Studies in Honduras invited Isabel Martinez from Belize Fisheries Department to exchange experiences about Manage Access Program in La Ceiba, Honduras. Key collaborators from the Forest Institute, the Fisheries Authorities and Marine Park Managers assisted the workshop where Isabel presented the tools used in Belize to regulate artisanal fisheries and secure the marine resources for a sustainable development of the country.

7 MAR Fellows and MAR Leadership staff were actively participating at the Healthy Reef Initiative (HRI) annual Meeting of Partners: Ian Drysdale, 2010 Fellow, and Diana Vasquez, 2016 Fellow from Honduras, Ana Giró and Blanca García, 2011 Fellows, Angela Mojica, 2012 Fellow from Guatemala, Nicanor Requena, 2011 Fellow from Belize and Stuart Fulton, 2016 Fellow from Mexico. The results of the monitoring season, conservation initiatives around the MAR were discussed and suggestions to the HRI team for the design of the 2017 Report Card were provided. Professionals from organizations of civil society, government and academia of Honduras, Guatemala, Belize and Mexico were invited.

We are also very glad to share with you that Melissa Alvarez' project, 2014 MAR Fellow from Guatemala, is being implemented! Her guidelines for municipal solid waste management in Montaua watershed have been published and workshops are being organized in order to communicate and reach a maximum audience. After her participation in the National Policy on Solid Waste earlier this year, Melissa is successfully finalizing this part of her project and we feel very proud to have been part of this important initiative which will positively affect the life of thousands and the MAR's ecosystems. 

Céline Cousteau in Mexico

Mexican Fund for Nature (FMCN in Spanish) and MAR Leadership had the great honor to organize the visit of world celebrity conservationist Céline Cousteau. Céline Cousteau has explored several of the most remote corners of the planet- from deep inside the Amazon, out to the Galapagos Islands and down to Antarctica. From these journeys she has drawn the inspiration to become the voice of what she has witnessed. Through film, art, design, education and technology Céline pursues the storytelling legacy of her grandfather Jacques-Yves Cousteau. Declared by International Union for Conservation of Nature as one of the most irreplaceable areas in terms of biodiversity, the state of the Vale do Javari indigenous territory impacts each and every one of us, every breathe we take. Céline's last production, Tribes on the Edge, was born from a call of Vale do Javari's people. Céline presented a preview of her documentary for several audiences while she was in Mexico, followed by an education and engagement campaign to help raise awareness on the conditions of life of the tribes in Amazon and the world. Céline Cousteau was very pleased with the experience and expressed her wishes to follow up this collaboration with MAR Leadership Program.

The Thirteenth Meeting of the Convention on Biological Diversity, COP 13

In 1992, United Nations member countries or parties, as they are also known, met in Rio de Janeiro to discuss environmental and development issues. The meeting was also called Earth Summit and in this context, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) was born. Parties recognized that protecting biodiversity and ecosystem services was one of the priorities for human future and sustainable development. Since then, several Conferences of the Parties (COPs) have been held to follow up on the implementation of the CBD. From these meetings, or COP, the Nagoya Protocols on Fair Access to Genetic Resources, and Cartagena on Biosafety, have emerged.

The Thirteenth Meeting of the Convention on Biological Diversity, COP 13, is being held in Cancun this early December to emphasize the integration of Aichi targets in the public policies of the countries. Biodiversity conservation and sustainable use will be part of the policies and programs of the different productive sectors that are directly related to the use of biodiversity (agriculture, tourism, fisheries and forestry).

FMCN and MAR Leadership team worked actively to organize side events to take advantage on the numerous participation of representatives from countries, civil society organizations and business people to communicate their visions and missions in Mexico and the MAR region. Two sides events were organized around the theme Tulum+20: Securing wellbeing in the Mesoamerican Reef through a Blue Economy, one was open access outside the security area of COP 13 and the other one inside the main building of the conference. Healthy Reef Initiative and MARFund were partner organizations. After the welcoming remarks by the Director General for Wildlife at SEMANART, Government of Mexico, successful regional initiatives were presented by MAR Fellows Ana Giró from HRI Guatemala, Ian Drysdale from HRI Honduras and Gaby Nava from Oceanus, Mexico. During this presentation, MAR Leadership Program Director, showcased Fellows' successful stories through their training and acquired capacities in their professional and personal lives. MARFund Director also member of MAR Leadership executive committee, discussed about the challenges and opportunities for financing conservation in the region. Events were followed by coral restauration initiatives slideshow and a sustainable lobster/lion fish cocktail.

A third event was organized in collaboration with Mexican Center of Environmental Law (CEMDA in Spanish), where 2015 MAR Fellow Minerva Rosette works. This event about Mainstreaming Blue Carbon for Conservation and Sustainable Development highlighted the importance of integrating blue carbon ecosystems (mangroves, marshes and seagrasses) in biodiversity conservation actions as a means to achieving the welfare of communities which needs to be widely communicated. International experts on Blue Carbon had the opportunity to share their experience and present case studies to close the gap between UNFCCC and CBD in order to integrate the blue carbon concept into policies. A Blue Carbon video was screened on this occasion.

The events were a sound success as the expected number of attendees was overreached and important people, such as the Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources from the Government of Mexico, Rafael Pacchiano and the Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources from Quintana Roo, Alfredo Arellano attended.

Fellows at COP 13 of CBD:

Mexican Fellows Vicente Ferreyra (2010), Kim Ley Cooper and Joaquin de la Torre (2011) and Belizean Fellow Leonel Requena (2012) have been very active during COP13 event participating in panels and presenting a number of side events. Vicente, with his organization Sustentur, successfully took advantage of this great opportunity to mainstream sustainable tourism for ecosystem protection and rural communities’ inclusion. Through a series of events, inside and outside the COP13 main event, Vicente has reached hundreds of international and national tourism and conservation experts.

Joaquin, with his organization International Fund for Animal Welfare and several partners, (the Jane Goodall Institute, Youth for Wildlife Conservation and CITES among others) organized numerous side events and an exhibit booth. Engagement of youth, collaborations of NGOs, animal welfare and human wellbeing as new ways of changing attitudes and enhance biodiversity were the main objectives of the passionate events.

On the sustainable fisheries field, Kim organized side events and participated in several panels to communicate actively on the importance of biodiversity protection and good practices in order to secure food security for the future generation. Guidelines were elaborated in collaboration with UN's Food and Agriculture Organization and Mexican Authorities and presented to ministers of Latin America and the Caribbean to promote sustainable practices against climate change and stop ecosystems degradation. He also presented several local initiatives such as the Chakay Lobster, part of his MARL project, and lion fish control in Quintana Roo.

Leonel Requena presented the landscape/seascape work done on marine spatial planning in Belize empowering local communities. Involving indigenous communities, mainly relying on the small scale fisheries for their livelyhoods, in understanding and undertaking conservation measures is the strongest way to successfully implement resources management initiatives. Leonel was invited to represent Mesoamerica in the group discussions.

As you can see, MAR Leadership team and Fellows have been very active this fall!

We want thank our great donors who gave our organization tremendous support during #GivingTuesday and all year round, you make all our work possible!

Wishing you and your family a wonderful holiday season and a healthy and peaceful New Year!

For more information follows us at http://liderazgosam.org/en/ and https://www.facebook.com/MARLeadership/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

CSF expert on economic tools training
CSF expert on economic tools training
HRI partners meeting: spot the Fellows!
HRI partners meeting: spot the Fellows!
Managed Access workshop in Honduras
Managed Access workshop in Honduras
Celine Cousteau in Cancun
Celine Cousteau in Cancun
Kim Ley Cooper at COP 13 on CBD
Kim Ley Cooper at COP 13 on CBD

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Meet our 2016 Fellows on our website
Meet our 2016 Fellows on our website

Dear friends, partners and followers,

The third quarter of the year has been exciting! We launched our 2016 call for applications and went through a very competitive recruitment process. We interviewed great candidates for our 2016 cohort, whose theme is: Promoting a Blue Economy approach to sustainable development!

What is Blue Economy? FAO (2014) defines "Blue Growth" or "Blue Economy" as a rational approach to sustainable, comprehensive and socioeconomic management of the oceans and coasts. It is focused on fisheries, aquaculture, ecosystem services, and social protection of the coastal communities. Under a Blue Growth framework, responsible, sustainable and inclusive economic practices are promoted. Through capacity building, Blue Economy strengthens environmental legislation and institutional arrangements that empower communities, civil society organizations and public entities.

Fundamentals of this new economy are: optimizing the benefits from the use of marine resources (fisheries, bio-prospecting) to have higher profitability; reinvesting the benefits in environmental management, social capital, reducing national external debt and contributing to the eradication of poverty; promoting equity in access to the benefits so that there is a constant cash flow to all parties involved; and innovation in the production of circular solutions (blue solutions) that bring together economy and environment.

As you may know, the four countries that share the MAR region: Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and Honduras, are intimately linked to coastal marine ecosystems. The diversity of natural resources in the area has influenced local cultures for generations. The region now subsists mainly on the tourism and fisheries industries. It is estimated that three quarters of the population lives within 200 kilometers from the coastline. As the region continues to experience substantial and unprecedented changes along its coastline, including coastal pollution, fisheries decline and increased vulnerability to climate change; it becomes hence necessary to redefine the direction where economic activities are heading. It is urgent to change the traditional development paradigm towards a more (blue) economy, where human well-being and social equity rises, while natural resources are safeguarded for future generations.

2016 Fellows will be trained and mentored mainly by two amazing organizations:

  • Conservation Strategy Fund (CSF) the world’s only organization specifically focused on ensuring that economic insight is rigorously applied and embedded in conservation policy. Founded in 1998, CSF has trained over 2,200 people from 90 countries in 70-plus economic tools courses across North America, South America, Africa, Asia and the Pacific and conducted dozens of economic analyses that have shaped decision-making across the globe. CSF staff will mentor Fellows in designing economic analysis projects for conservation impact, including project scoping, design, methodology and analysis.
  • Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide (ELAW) a global alliance of attorneys, scientists and other advocates collaborating across borders to promote grassroots efforts to build a sustainable, just future. ELAW will provide training, mentoring and technical assistance on Advocacy and Leadership including the development of effective communication campaigns; public participation in environmental decision making, and use of legal tools.

The call for applications was launched on our social networks, sent out to our contact lists and several related mailing lists, reaching around 20,000 people. Conscious that the topic of this year's cohort is quite unique and different from the previous years, MAR-L staff undertook an intensive diffusion effort and held press conferences, interviews and presentations in the four countries!

Numerous interesting proposals and profiles were received, and after a thorough selection process involving MAR-L staff and Executive Committee, we are thrilled to present you MAR Leadership’s brand new 2016 Cohort:

  • Michelle Villatoro from Guatemala works as Advisor for the Basel Convention at the Ministry of Environment. Her project “Improving Environmental Management in Puerto Barrios and Puerto Santo Tomas, Izabal” seeks to encourage and support the compliance with the Basilea Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal as well as the Marpol Convention to prevent marine pollution from ships by assessing environmental and social conditions in the two ports. The mid and long term result of this project is the prevention, control and minimization of environmental impacts generated by port activity.
  • Diana Vasquez from Honduras works as Executive Director at the Center for Marine Studies. Her project “Improving the Business Model of Artisanal Fisheries Based on the Blue Economy” will provide sustainable solutions to make the sector more economic profitable. The project aims at working with the National Federation of Artisanal Fishermen based in Omoa, on the use of alternative fuels (gas), inexpensive mechanical improvements to engines to make them more efficient, plus the incorporation of novel techniques to add value to products. Her ultimate goal is to ensure better incomes for fishermen and their families.
  • Her country fellow, Milton Alvarado, is an independent consultant specialized in financial mechanisms for conservation. His project “Design and Implement a Financial Mechanism for Conservation of Watersheds that Supply Water for Domestic Use at the Name of God National Park” seeks to develop a financial mechanism to ensure the sustainability of ecosystems that contribute to the welfare of approximately 17,000 people in 43 communities located in the buffer zone of the Nombre de Dios National Park, an important watershed leading directly to the MAR and Bay Islands.
  • Julio Maaz, Sustainable Fisheries Technical Coordinator at Wildlife Conservation Society's in Belize, will implement a traceability system in the fishing industry to increase the value of the sector, the sustainability of the industry and the resilience of the ecosystem and Belizean people. The project will seek to increase by 3-6% the revenue generated from the existing products. A branding and market exercise will be developed in an effort to generate higher prices.
  • Also attending sustainable fisheries issues, Isabel Martinez, Managed Access Liaison Officer at Belize Fisheries Department, is particularly interested in adding value to the fishing activity while encouraging sailing fleet in Belize to undertake sustainable practices. This initiative would help the fleet of 100 vessels to adapt to the changing market demands. It will allow the fleet to obtain higher economic returns while encouraging loyalty to their cooperative and keeping the traditional use of sailing vessels.
  • Areli Perez, Environmental Assistant at the Belize Aquaculture Ltd, will develop Belize's great potential for becoming a model for ‘Blue Economy’ in sustainable aquaculture by improving the connectivity between the different involved sectors in order to comply with higher standards and helping them in the process of certification from internationally recognized standards.
  • Executive Director of the Belize Tourism Industry Association, John Burgos, sees an opportunity to promote and communicate Blue Economy solutions while strengthening Caye Caulker's Reserve management and the development of a Learning Center that will reach national and international students and tourists.
  • In Mexico, COBI's Marine Reserves National Coordinator, Stuart Fulton, has been involved in the design and implementation of fishing replenishment zones in Quintana Roo. He has hence realized that these projects have relied on traditional philanthropic funds, which makes them vulnerable to economic changes in the medium and long term. To secure their successful future, Stuart will provide Quintana Roo’s fishing cooperatives with the information on the costs and economic benefits of maintaining a marine replenishment zone and generate replicable tools for the MAR region.
  • Alejandro Tamayo, Water Conservation Program Coordinator at Amigos de Sian Ka'an, will develop an economic valuation of Quintana Roo's karstic aquifer and associated groundwater dependent ecosystems that are linked with the MAR. He will design economic mechanisms to strengthen the programs of local ecological system, strengthen environmental legislation and promote the connection to the sewage.
  • Juan Canul, a biologist in charge of the environmental management of Ahau Hotels (four hotels), will test a model of low density and low impact tourism in Tulum by focusing on making the conservation of marine and coastal ecosystems profitable for the tourism sector, securing the sector's investments as well as the marine coastal ecosystems which is key to the blue economy.
  • In the Island of Cozumel, Alejandra Tellez, a passionate consultant on sustainable eco technologies, will implement a comprehensive model that combines the best practices of sustainable social housing and eco technologies that are low cost and replicable. Local communities will be empowered and their sustainable lifestyle will promote natural resources conservation.
  • Last but no least, also from Cozumel Island, Adrian Villegas, Geochemistry PhD, seeks to launch a Blue Economy initiative that will aim at engineering novel businesses and co-management schemes allowing the sustainable exploitation of newly-generated goods and services provided by Artificial Marine Ecosystem Corridors (AMEC). He will start by conducting an economic study in artificial reefs already in place in order to obtain quantitative information that can serve to set realistic economic and conservation goals for AMEC.

 

The selected Fellows are currently making their travel arrangement as their training is about to begin with the 2016 MAR-L first workshop in Cancún!

Stay tuned to receive more news on our brand new cohort! 

Thank you donors for making this work possible!

 

For more information follows us at http://liderazgosam.org/en/ and https://www.facebook.com/MARLeadership/

 

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2015 MAR-L cohort Graduation
2015 MAR-L cohort Graduation

Dear friends, partners and followers,

In this second quarter of the year we have awesome news to share! Our 2015 Fellows have finalized their training cycle and graduated during their fourth workshop in Tela, Honduras. It was a week full of learning, bonding, joy, adventure and a little bit of sadness as this was their last workshop together as a cohort.

During the final workshop 2015 Fellows were introduced to local and international mangrove valuation and conservation initiatives, were trained in advocacy and strategic communications, and experienced an in situ exercise on blue carbon measurement.

Fellows presented their projects to MAR-L Executive Committee and national and international experts and strengthen the MAR Leadership network.

Special guests were invited to participate in the national and international panels including Sergio Palacios from the Ministry of Environment who discussed Honduras National Route for Climate Change and the inclusion of the coastal marine ecosystems in the legal framework. José Peralta, UNDP Coordinator at the Ministry of Environment, talked about the importance of coastal marine ecosystems in Honduras, the blue carbon initiative and its influence in Honduras mangrove protection. Mariela Ochoa, 2012 MAR-L Fellow who is Regional Coordinator at the Marine Studies Center (CEM by its Spanish acronym), shared her experience in mangrove restoration program in Guanaja; Octavio Aburto from SCRIPPS, Rupesh Bhomia from the University of Florida and Rich Wilson from Seatone Consulting, presented initiatives and success stories of mangrove valuation techniques and implementation for their conservation. They also presented the results of their research on economic valuation, shared their experience on conservation programs and exposed the existing states of mangrove health in the region.

We all had the opportunity to visit the National Park Blanca Jeannette Kawas, where Fellows had the chance to be amazed by the luxurious tropical forest, hauling monkeys and healthy elk horn coral dominated reefs. Bryan Foster from Vermont University gave a complete training on carbon estimation in mangrove forests with worldwide examples and hands-on practice which Fellows fully enjoyed.

After this thorough training on valuation and conservation of mangrove ecosystems, Fellows received a very dynamic training on advocacy and effective communication with Lori Maddox from the Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide (ELAW) and Alejandra Serrano from the Mexican Center for Environmental Law (CEMDA). During the sessions, Fellows learned about environmental-based social movements and how these causes have been communicating to impulse advocacy. They learned to recognize the importance of communication planning for the permanence of a movement and engaging stakeholders from various sectors to create a multidisciplinary team and promote a successful theory of change. Fellows developed a strategic communication plan for their own project in order to generate greater impacts.

Throughout the workshop, Honduran Fellows from previous cohorts, working now in different environmental organizations, participated in the workshop. Members of MAR-L Executive Committee were also there. 2015 MAR Fellows had the opportunity to share experiences, exchange contacts and discuss their projects, creating a valuable network.

The fourth workshop also represented the graduation of the 2015 cohort. Fellows presented their final project proposals to the national and international experts, to the MAR-L Executive Committee and their peers.

Honduras 2015 Fellows’ projects:

Anuar Romero, Coastal Marine Project UNDP / MiAmbiente, presented the project: Mangrove restoration against climate change in Cuyamel Omoa National Park (PANACO). His project will help decision making processes to establish restoration procedures in PANACO's impacted zones to tackle negative effects of climate change and agriculture pressures upon the coast line.

Mayra Núñez, Marine Studies Center–CEM, presented the project: Conservation Plan for Mangrove Forests in Natural Protected Areas of Honduras' North coast and Bay Islands. Her goal is to reduce mangrove deforestation by 60% by 2019 and promote the compliance of the legal framework outside the NPAs.

Belize 2015 Fellows’ projects:

Cecilia Guerrero, Mar Alliance, presented the project: Plan to improve mangrove conservation efforts through education and outreach program in three Belizean coastal communities. She aims to reach the different sectors of society and promote the protection of 20% of the actual cover by 2020 through a change in attitude towards mangrove importance and value.

Ralna Lewis, Wildlife Conservation Society –WCS, shared her project: Integrate mangrove conservation best practices at South Water Caye Marine Reserve, looking to promote sustainable development through mangrove conservation.

Guatemala 2015 Fellows’ projects:

César Zacarías, National Forest Institute–INAB, presented the project: Strengthen mangrove conservation in Guatemala's Caribbean coast as a measure for mitigation and climate change adaptation. Through a 5 years monitoring plan he aims to integrate mangroves in national strategies to accelerate the conservation of 50% mangrove cover.

Guillermo Gálvez, Eco Development and Conservation Foundation –FUNDAECO, shared the project: Establish the economic value of mangrove ecosystem for the sustainability of Río Sarstún fisheries (fish and shrimp). Through the analysis of fish catch stocks and monitoring their juveniles associated to mangrove, Guillermo will establish economic value to this ecosystem and will develop a participatory document for its outreach within the coastal communities.

José Domingo Caal, Aprosarstun, presented the Plan to promote community participation for mangrove ecosystem protection and conservation in Río Sarstún. His project seeks to boost community participation for the sustainable management of mangrove ecosystem through restoration of lost areas of forests and raising awareness on these ecosystem importance.

Mexico 2015 Fellows’ projects:

Blanca Quiroga, Natural Protected Areas National Commission -CONANP presented a Strategy to apply tourism as a strategy for conservation and sustainable use of mangrove in the northern Cozumel protected area. The main goal of her project is to determine the economic value of mangrove services that affect catch and release fishing and bird observation to support the decision-making process for planning, management and conservation with a participatory vision.

Carlos Zapata, Palace Resorts Hotel, shared his project: Economic valuation of carbon stocks in mangrove ecosystems and other ecosystem services and benefits associated to mangroves. The private natural reserve at Moon Palace Hotel sets a precedent in the region recognizing the importance of protecting natural capital. The aim of the project is to prove that investing in conservation is indeed profitable.

Jennifer Lara, Flora, Fauna y Cultura de México A.C., presented her ambitious project: Ecological restoration in a damaged area in the Natural Protected Area of Nichupté. Through restoration, rehabilitation of water flow, raising awareness and carbon stock studies, she aims to recover this area and replicate the experience in other areas of the NPA.

Minerva Rosette, Mexican Center for Environmental Law CEMDA, presented her project: Strengthening management of Yum Balam Natural Protected Area through a thorough environmental services economic valuation for better decision making processes and an outreach program that will reach the community and stakeholders.

Rebeca García, Palladium Hotel Group project is: Valuation of mangrove ecosystem services and the development of a Guideline on sustainable use of mangrove for the private sector (tourism). This tool will provide private sector with guidelines that will allow better understanding about mangrove importance, change paradigms between development and environment to reach equilibrium and transform mangroves as assets in tourism projects.

 

The workshop ended with an emotive and beautiful graduation dinner that was held by the beach, where the Fellows received their diplomas and kind words of gratefulness were shared.

 

MAR Leadership team wishes them good luck in their projects, their professional and personal life.

Keep up the good work!

Thank you donors for making this possible!

 

For more information follows us at http://liderazgosam.org/en/ and https://www.facebook.com/MARLeadership/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

Fellows presenting their projects
Fellows presenting their projects
Invited international experts panel
Invited international experts panel
Advocacy training with Lori Maddox, ELAW
Advocacy training with Lori Maddox, ELAW
Giacomo, 2012 Fellow, Roatan Marine Park Director
Giacomo, 2012 Fellow, Roatan Marine Park Director
Carbon estimation training by Dr Bryan Foster
Carbon estimation training by Dr Bryan Foster

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Organization Information

Fondo Mexicano para la Conservacion de la Naturaleza, A.C.

Location: Mexico D.F., Distrito Federal - Mexico
Website:
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Twitter: @fondomexicano
Project Leader:
Maria Eugenia Arreola
Cancun, Quintana Roo Mexico
$13,925 raised of $25,000 goal
 
189 donations
$11,075 to go
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