MAR Leadership program seeks new applicants

Belize shares the Meso-American Barrier Reef System with neighbors Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras, but the majority of it, as the Belize Barrier Reef, lies within the Jewel’s borders. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is a source of many natural wonders and hundreds of thousands of jobs and dollars in income for all four countries. But for the Reef to be around for many more years, the next generation of conservationists and related environmental enthusiasts must learn and develop its secrets and how best to preserve it. Among those leaders are the 60 persons who have graduated in the last five years from the Meso-American Reef Leadership Program, co-sponsored by the Mexican Fund for the Conservation of Nature. Past topics for developmentvlcsnap-2016-05-18-10h38m45s445 projects include coastal development and tourism, solid waste management and the use of the mangrove. Some 60 people have been trained, half of whom are now in key positions in their countries. For this year, the focus is on how to increase the input of the oceans and waters – from fishing and water-based tourism – to the economy, while preserving its wonders – creating a “Blue Economy.” With more on the selection process for the 2016 class of the Meso-American Reef Leadership Program here is director Maria Eugenia Arreola: Three well-known MAR fellows working in Belize’s conservation sector spoke about their experiences with the program – Angeline Valentine, Ralna Lewis and Nicanor Requena. For one year, prospective fellows will meet in each MAR country between September 2016 and June 2017. Applications are available online with a deadline of June 15th, followed by interviews before the final group of 12 to 14 persons is selected in Augustvlcsnap-2016-05-18-10h40m28s965

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