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. 

During the course of 2023, the tenth generation of MAR-L is being formed, comprising 25 leaders from the four countries, representing a total of 16 projects. These projects focus on ideas or ventures with the capacity to strengthen the health and resilience of surrounding ecosystems and communities in 18 coastal and marine protected areas in the region. The launch of the new generation took place in January, with an eight-day in-person workshop held in Puerto Barrios, Guatemala. Since then, five of the six scheduled virtual modules have been carried out, addressing key topics such as Entrepreneurship, Business and Finance, Impact Measurement, Conflict Resolution, Storytelling, and Leadership. Additionally, four individual mentoring sessions have been held between leaders and experts in the business field. These interactions have significantly impacted the projects' progress, of which six with high potential will be evaluated and selected to undergo an acceleration process led by New Ventures México in the second half of the year.

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