In early 2004, recognizing the need for a regional funding and coordination institution, representatives from conservation funds in each country of the MAR region (Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico) initiated the Mesoamerican Reef Fund (MAR Fund).
The MAR Fund is a participatory, privately managed fund with a Board of Directors comprised of international collaborators, experts, the Central American Commission on Environment and Development (CCAD), and the in-country funds from each of the Mesoamerican Reef countries – Protected Areas Conservation Trust (Belize), Fundación para la Conservación de los Recursos Naturales y Ambiente en Guatemala (FCG), Fundación Biósfera (Honduras), and Fondo Mexicano para la Conservación de la Naturaleza (Mexico).
The mission of the MAR Fund is to drive regional funding and partnerships for the conservation, restoration, and sustainable use of the Mesoamerican Reef.
To do so, the MAR Fund operates as an ecoregional planning and coordinating body which prioritizes projects and allocates funding. The Mesoamerican Reef Fund aspires to be known and respected as a trustworthy and transparent fundraising mechanism able to sustain and finance effective transnational alliances, policies, and practices that conserve the Mesoamerican Reef and advance the health and well-being of the region’s people.
The MAR Fund raises funds for the following initial program areas:
- Saving our Sanctuaries: A Legacy of Caring. This program supports the establishment and protection of an interconnected network of priority coastal and marine protected areas in the region.
- Fishing for the Future: Sustainable Fisheries for a Thriving Reef. Community participation in co-management of their fisheries and the establishment of fisheries recovery areas is supported through this initiative.
- Climate Change: The Need is Now. Monitoring climate change effects on the reef and supporting adaptation to climate change are two key issues that will be supported in the region.