On Thursday the German Embassy showcased some of the accomplishments of the MAR Fund German Cooperation project which is implemented by the Toledo Institute for Development and Environment (TIDE). Executive Director of MAR Fund, Maria Jose Gonzalez gave an overview of the regional MAR Fund German Cooperation Project in the region.
MARIA JOSE GONZALEZ
“We are on this visit to bring journalists to learn about and see the great results that have been achieved with this project called Conservation of Marine Resources in Central America that is funded by the German Cooperation through the KFW and with this fund MAR FUND is a channel to these funds to the different protected areas that are being supported we have been able to support day to day management of protected areas also sustainable use of resources and participation of local communities and exchanges of best practices. The project works along the four countries of the Mesoamerican Reef and we have been very luck to work with great partners on the ground who are doing the work on the field such as TIDE. I’ve always said that TIDE has been the star of this project. They work very well TIDE has a history of being a great institution and we just feel very good an honored that we are able to work with an organization such as TIDE to help them achieve these results that you can see; they have better working conditions, they have great work in monitoring, great work in control and surveillance, they work with the communities I think TIDE is a very good example to other protected areas along the region and as part of the project you can actually organize exchanges and others are learning from it. So I was just talking to somebody else earlier and I was saying that this project ends but we look forward to continue working with TIDE through other funding channels that MAR FUND has now and is looking to create in the future. The Mesoamerican Reef Fund or MAR fund is a financial mechanism, we are environmental fund that was created to support conservation and sustainable use of resources in the Mesoamerican Reef region. So we work from North to South Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and Honduras and our role is to bring financial and technical resources that can be applied to conservation initiatives on the ground and this is what we do. Of course these we do for strategic conservation initiatives that attend the threats to the reef and this is where we will continue working. Our initial focus has been protected areas, strengthening a network of Coastal Marine Protected areas but we also need to work in other initiatives that are also very important strategically outside of protected areas; so expanding for example our scope of work.”
Head Ranger of the Port Honduras Marine Reserve, Edwin Cabrerra gave an overview of the management of the reserve. Joseph Villafranco who played a key role at TIDE managing the five year project shared major accomplishments of the project that ended earlier this year. These include investment in infrastructure and equipment that enhanced general operations, enforcement of fishing regulations in the Port Honduras Marine Reserve, education and outreach activities and ongoing research and monitoring. He also listed the number of capacity building training skills done for the TIDE staff and community members. Celia Mahung, executive director of TIDE mentioned that TIDE is in a better position today to effectively manage the Port Honduras Marine Reserve, as a result of numerous investments through this project. She thanked the German Cooperation, MAR Fund and PACT for the financial support and pledged to share best practices with national and regional partners. Present on the tour were His Excellency, Harald Peter Klein of the German Embassy, His Excellency Alexis Rosado, Belize Ambassador in Guatemala, executive director of MAR Fund, Maria Jose Gonzalez and other MAR Fund staff, Personnel from Protected Areas in Guatemala, Acting Grants Director of PACT, Darrel Rosado, Senior Fisheries officer, Rigoberto Quintana and members of the Guatemalan and Belizean press.