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 regional funders, experts, the Central American Commission on Environment and Development (CCAD), and the in-country funds from each of the Mesoamerican Reef countries - PACT (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 inspire innovative, transnational solutions to critical Mesoamerican reef issues through providing meaningful, long-term financial support and trustworthy reef management advice so that future generations can enjoy and benefit from a thriving reef system.
The goals of the MAR Fund are (1) to provide long-term financial sustainability for natural resources management and conservation initiatives in the MAR ecoregion, (2) to strengthen the alliance among the four participating funds, and (3) to consolidate and allocate donor contributions to common and strategic objectives in the ecoregion.
To do so, the MAR Fund will operate as an ecoregional planning and coordinating body which will prioritize projects and allocate funding, while relying on the pre-existing technical, administrative, and financial capabilities of the four founding funds to execute the Fund’s strategic priorities on the ground. By 2010, the Mesoamerican Reef Fund aspires to be known and respected as a trustworthy and transparent fund raising sensation 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 will raise funds for following the initial program areas:
- Saving our Sanctuaries: A Legacy of Caring. This program will support the establishment and protection of an interconnected network of the 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 will be supported through this initiative.