Photo: Oceanus, A.C.
Mesoamerican Reef Rescue Initiative
In December 2014, a Financial Cooperation Agreement between the Government of Germany and MAR Fund was signed. Under this Agreement the German Cooperation through the KfW granted and deposited US$ 8.5 Million in the MAR Fund endowment, which will be administrated as a specific sub-account for the implementation of the Mesoamerican Reef Rescue Initiative.
The objective of the Reef Rescue Initiative is to increase the resilience and ability to recover of the Mesoamerican Reef -and of the environmental and cultural services it provides -through two approaches:
- Continuous Restoration. Based on coral nursery techniques, cultivating coral fragments to be transferred to reef areas that have been degraded or damaged.
- 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:
- 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;
- To support and develop reef restoration and rehabilitation in the region;
- To develop alternative sources of income and new employment opportunities for local communities, based on resource conservation, and
- 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.
This innovative enterprise is carried out by the Mesoamerican Reef Fund (MAR Fund) and the Central American Commission on Environment and Development (CCAD), specifically with the participation of the four countries that share the reef system: Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico.
Currently, MAR Fund and CCAD have achieved effective coordination among the four countries through the Technical Supervisory Committee, which is formed by a representative of the natural resources and biodiversity national agencies. In addition, a Collaboration Agreement between MAR Fund and The Nature Conservancy has been possible. The Agreement aims to jointly design a parametric insurance for the region, thus, advancing towards the formulation of an innovative financial mechanism to cover restauration costs following damages to coral reefs due to hurricanes. The Agreement includes the exchange of information between the parties, as well as building protocols and workshops to train the Rapid Response Teams in the region. Moreover, in 2017, an Emergency Fund to prevent secondary damage and restore the reefs has been established with sub-account returns. The ultimate objective of the Emergency Fund is to capitalize it to reach $ 1,000,000.
The critical financial support and trust of the German Government and the joint efforts of the four MAR countries, the CCAD and the MAR Fund, will bring our shared vision of a thriving reef, managed and conserved as a regional eco-treasure for future generations, closer to reality.