The Reef-World Foundation – the international coordinator of the UN Environment Programme’s Green Fins initiative – announced this week that its Green Fins Global Hub proposal has been selected for project design under IDB Lab’s Beyond Tourism Challenge.
This funding enables Reef-World to begin full development of the Green Fins Global Hub, a first-of-its-kind online platform which will empower marine tourism businesses to measurably improve their sustainability efforts.
The Hub will house an online support system to raise operator awareness of the potential threats their business practices pose to the environment and offer practical, proven solutions to address these.
The Beyond Tourism project support enables Reef-World to begin the development of the Hub, which will initially be piloted by marine tourism operators in the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica. As an already established Green Fins country, the Dominican Republic team will share successes and learnings with Costa Rica, which will launch Green Fins as a result of this project support.
Reef-World Foundation Director Chloe Harvey said:
“The Green Fins Global Hub has been generating excitement among dive centres around the world for some time so we’re delighted that IDB Lab has recognised the huge conservation impact it will have and selected it for project design. By the end of the two-year project, we expect to have fully autonomous Green Fins assessor teams in both Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic as well as a global digital platform with the potential to reach 30,000 marine tourism operators across 100 countries and upskill around 48,000 staff. Empowering the industry to collaborate for improved sustainability is essential in influencing the consumer choices of the 171 million travellers visiting reef hotspots annually and will have a significant conservation impact. We can’t wait to get started!”
This project creates a tipping point for sustainable reef tourism globally by helping the industry identify pressing environmental threats and providing proven solutions. The Hub will protect coral reefs and related ecosystems from local stressors. Minimizing local threats enables these vital ecosystems to become more resilient to global stressors, such as those associated with climate change. It also protects the local communities who rely on these precious natural resources for food stability, coastal protection, livelihoods and tourism returns.
Reef-World’s proposal was one of eight selected from Barbados, Belize, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Haiti, Guyana, Panama and Trinidad and Tobago. These selected applicants will become part of IDB Group’s network of global innovators working in the region to reinvent the tourism industry and support its recovery efforts.