Local actors bring SAMAR’s management to life

Local stakeholders give life to the management of the Southeastern Reefs Marine Sanctuary (SAMAR)

SAMAR co-managers met in Punta Cana to share initiatives, scientific research and projects being developed in the Sanctuary.

The Southeast Reefs Marine Sanctuary (SAMAR) presented its efforts and achievements in the management and conservation of species and habitats.

In collaboration with the Puntacana Group Foundation and the German Development Cooperation (GIZ), the first SAMAR Symposium was held to present the importance of this area due to its high biodiversity and its impact on the social and economic context of the area.

This Sanctuary is classified by Law as a protected area in the Habitat/Species Management Area category and is under the co-management of a public-private alliance established in 2018 between the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources of the Dominican Republic, non-governmental organizations and tourism companies.

Lionel LewkowTo protect the Sanctuary and conserve its species, the Co-Management Council of the Arrecifes del Sureste Marine Sanctuary was created, in which the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources and 13 local organizations participate.

The importance of local management by the communities not only guarantees better resource management, but also raises awareness of the importance of ecosystem services for the life of the communities in general.

The director of the Biodiversity and Business Program in Central America and the Dominican Republic, Svenja Paulino, says: “At GIZ we have joined Grupo Puntacana to support the management of SAMAR.

It is a co-management model for protected areas that private enterprise, NGOs and other organizations have agreed on with the Ministry of Environment. This cooperation shows how multiple actors implement a biodiversity conservation process that benefits not only the ecosystems but also the communities that depend on them”.

Puntacana Group Foundation Vice President Jake Kheel said, “The coastal-marine zone is a fundamental resource for our business. We make an important investment of effort, time and economic resources in the protection and good management of the Sanctuary with the intention of motivating other actors in the zone to contribute, as well. In the end, the future of Dominican tourism depends directly on the health of the coastal ecosystems.”

As part of the presentations, the objectives and scope of the PRO-SAMAR project, an alliance financed through the develoPPP program that GIZ implements on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), were presented.

Among the main activities that will be carried out within the framework of this project is the development of a Management Plan for the Sanctuary that will provide guidance on the management of the protected area.

In addition, the Puntacana Group Foundation through the Marine Research Center (CIM), the South and Central zones of the co-management presented the different initiatives of monitoring and conservation of marine biodiversity that are already being developed in the area.

The event was opened by the Vice Minister of Protected Areas and Biodiversity of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources of the Dominican Republic, Federico Franco, who reiterated his support for the management of this co-management.

The Arrecifes del Sureste Marine Sanctuary ensures the health of marine ecosystems by protecting its reefs, which buffer ocean currents, recycle nutrients, regulate the climate, provide food and are a source of income for coastal communities. Its waters and coasts are home to a vast biological diversity that includes different species of macroalgae, sponges, corals, mollusks and fish that make the Sanctuary a true natural treasure of great importance for life on the planet.

About the Puntacana Group Foundation

The Puntacana Group Foundation is the non-profit organization through which the Puntacana Group creates welfare opportunities for the inhabitants of the area and promotes innovative solutions for the preservation of the region’s ecosystem.

Its innovative environmental and ecological initiatives, which include a Sustainability Center dedicated to research, coral restoration programs, preservation of marine species and protection of endangered animals, are recognized and extrapolated nationally and internationally.

Its environmental vision translates into 6,000 meters of coral tissue planted, dozens of endemic species preserved, 20% of electricity demand coming from renewable sources, and more than 3 million gallons of water and 7 tons of waste recycled daily.

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