Our Mesoamerican Reef conservation program is driven by six grantmaking objectives:
Gauge reef health to guide management interventions:
The Healthy Reefs for Healthy People Initiative’s biennial report card grades the health of the MAR to inform science, management, and policy. “Eco-audits” on alternate years measure management effectiveness by government, NGOs, and local stakeholders.
Solve three main local threats:
End overfishing and restore reef ecosystem health by ensuring 20% fish refuge protection of MAR waters, closing open-access fishing, and introducing rights-based fisheries management models.
Reduce land-based ocean pollution by curbing the negative impacts caused by agricultural production; creating zero-plastics zones and promoting waste-to-value strategies in tourism destinations and coastal/island communities; and stemming sewage flows into the Reef.
Turn mass tourism into a conservation ally by reducing the industry’s footprint on the Reef through voluntary policy and operational changes at hotels and marine recreation service providers.
Build two essential local capacities:
Long-term funding flow for conservation through an endowed ecoregional fund that increases financial independence.
Leadership development by creating a critical mass of emerging conservation leaders armed with new skills and competencies, and incubating their project ideas to promote the health of the MAR.
While not a stated objective, Summit encourages its partners to apply the growing body of knowledge available on coral adaptation and ecosystem resilience science, as relevant, to their conservation work in the MAR. New science continues to reveal that the local threats our grantmaking tackles are exacerbating factors that make the reef ecosystem and species more vulnerable to climate threats, including ocean acidification and temperature rise. Much of Summit’s grantmaking contributes to enhancing reef resilience at an ecoregional level.