The Healthy Reefs for Healthy People Initiative is an international, multi-institutional effort that tracks the health of the Meso-American Reef, the human choices that shape it and our progress in ensuring its long-term integrity.
The Initiative was launched in early 2004 as a catalyst to improve our collective conservation impact in the Meso-American Reef Ecosystem. The founding members are the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the Meso-American Barrier Reef System Project (MBRS), the World Bank, the Summit Foundation and Perigee Environmental.
The Healthy Reefs for Healthy People Initiative seeks to address two overarching questions:
- What is a healthy reef and how can we improve our tracking of reef health through a shared vision and common indicators or “yardsticks?”
- How can we best convey consistent, scientific information to policymakers, decision-makers, and the public, such that the connections between reef health and human health result in effective conservation action at an unprecedented scale?
The Healthy Reefs for Healthy People Initiative concerns itself not only with ecological issues, but also with the most relevant socio-economic, cultural, and policy factors influencing reef health and, in turn, the impact those factors may have on local communities. Well over one million local people directly depend on the integrity and health of the Reef for their livelihood, and the national economies of four countries substantially benefit from the Reef’s appeal as an international tourist destination. Ecological and socio-economic considerations cannot be dealt with separately, as we are keenly aware of the interdependence between reef health and social prosperity.
Ultimately, we need healthy reefs to sustain healthy local people.