Mesoamerican Reef Leadership Program

Conserving the reefs of Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras

The Project

The Mesoamerican Reef Leadership Program (MAR-L) develops young talent from the four countries of the Mesoamerican Reef System (MAR): Mexico, Belize, Honduras, and Guatemala, providing technical capabilities, leadership skills, and networking opportunities to implement projects for the conservation and sustainable use of marine and coastal resources.


MAR-L  has proven to be a platform for scaling projects and creating synergies on an international level. In ten years, the project has achieved results at different levels: its structure has strengthened the professional capacities of the region's human capital, facilitated a deep personal transformation of the participants, and created strong ties within and between generations. These achievements translate into high-impact actions that are generating positive changes in the conservation of the SAM and benefiting over two million people who depend on the reef's health.

Our commitment is to continue developing the region's talent and strengthening the MAR-L network with a long-term strategic focus. This will promote collective actions and replicate successful projects to facilitate, accelerate, and amplify measurable impacts toward developing an environmentally responsible economic model and effective conservation actions in the SAM region.

The lines of work that guide MAR-L's actions are as follows:

  1. Talent recruitment and capacity building.
  2. Design and implementation of high-impact projects with the support of experts.
  3. Networking of leaders and experts in marine and coastal issues.

MAR-L benefits more than 2 million people who depend on the reef's health.


MAR-L has proven to be a platform for scaling up projects and creating synergies at the international level. In eleven years of operation, it has trained 122 leaders from the four countries and incubated over 75 conservation projects. More than 70 leaders have advanced to positions of greater responsibility, and 25 leaders have influenced public policy in their countries.

From the relationships developed in MAR-L, 30 multinational synergies have emerged, and 27 leaders have received funding from the Mesoamerican Reef System Fund (MAR Fund) to implement their projects and consultancies. These achievements translate into high-impact actions generating positive changes in the conservation of the MAR and benefiting more than two million people who depend on the reef’s health. 

In the second semester of 2022, the call for applications for the 2023 cohort was opened, which will focus on nature-based business ideas or projects with the potential to positively impact the marine and coastal ecosystems of the SAM and to connect with the market. In total, 82 people with 31 projects applied, of which the selection committee chose 25 leaders (17 women and eight men) and 16 projects (five in Honduras, 10 in Mexico, three in Guatemala, and one transnational). Of the 16 selected projects, five focus on reef restoration, four on sustainable tourism, two on solid waste, two on water quality, one on renewable energy, and another on invasive species control.

Learn more about the project:



  • Mesoamerican Reef Fund
  • The Summit Foundation


  • GlobalGiving
  • Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic Joint Fund for Exploration and Conservation
  • Marisla Foundation
  • Oak Foundation
  • Sureste Sostenible, A.C.
  • The Dalio Ocean Initiative
  • The Oak Hill Fund
  • The Tiffany & Co. Foundation
  • TreadRight Foundation