Although the Mesoamerican Reef (MAR) indeed has amazingly beautiful and healthy areas, others have been degraded by different causes, such as overfishing, pollution and agricultural runoff, sedimentation, and coastal development. In addition, the MAR is highly vulnerable to climate change, which exacerbates pressures by anthropogenic threats. The impacts of climate change on the coral ecosystems include an increase in the frequency and intensity of hurricanes, ocean acidification and abnormally high ocean temperatures that cause coral bleaching.
Now, thanks to the generous support of the German Government through the KfW, recovering damaged and degraded reefs in the region, is a tangible possibility through the Mesoamerican Reef Rescue Initiative. The overall objective of the Reef Rescue Initiative is to contribute to the conservation of the Mesoamerican Reef by increasing the resilience and recovery ability of the MAR and thereby the environmental and cultural services it provides, through capacity building, regulations, economic incentives and financial sustainability required for effective and timely restoration.
The Reef Rescue Initiative is addressed through two approaches:
a. Continuous Restoration. Based on coral nursery techniques, cultivating coral fragments to be transferred to reef areas that have been degraded or damaged.
b. Emergency Response. Response to hurricanes or ship groundings to recover and attach live coral fragments with the double objective of preventing secondary damage and restoring the reef.
Four key strategies guide the Initiative:
1. To ensure sustainable long-term funding for continuous and emergency restoration through the establishment of an Emergency Fund and other innovative mechanisms such as, for example, creating insurance mechanisms for reefs;
2. To support and develop reef restoration and rehabilitation in the region;
3. To develop alternative sources of income and new employment opportunities for local communities, based on resource conservation, and
4. To promote the commitment of governments from all four countries in the region through the development of policies and regulations aimed at facilitating the restoration of the reefs.
The Mesoamerican Reef Rescue Initiative is governed by a Technical Supervisory Committee (TSC) and executed by the MAR Fund, and the Central American Commission on Environment and Development (CCAD), with the participation of the four countries that share the reef system: Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico.
a. Technical Project Committee (TPC).
b. Operating Unit .
a. Meetings and Workshops.
b. Technical Project Committee meetings.