Oceans

The Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) recognizes the critical role that oceans and coastal communities play in promoting sustainable livelihoods. Blue practices increase sustainability in water, energy, fishing, tourism, agriculture, and natural resource management. PADF’s work includes education initiatives such as “STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) for Oceans” programs, reforestation to prevent soil runoff, increased mangrove planting across coastal communities, reducing ocean-bound plastics, and helping coastal communities and municipal governments plan investments to enhance blue economy opportunities.

STEM for Oceans
"STEM for Oceans" inspira a las y los estudiantes a desarrollar interés en convertirse en las y los futuros ingenieros y científicos.
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PADF's Priorities

The blue economy requires a trained workforce. Tourism, fisheries, renewable energy, and waste management are areas with strong livelihood connections. PADF bridges the gap between current skills and blue economy labor market needs. We seek to alleviate poverty, challenge gender stereotypes, and support inclusive economies.

Blue practices increase sustainability in water, energy, coastal cities, agriculture, and natural resource management. PADF helps coastal communities adapt to climate change, strengthens municipal governments’ capacity, embeds protocols for disaster risk reduction, and promotes green energy off-grid solutions.

Entrepreneurial solutions lead to sustainable economies. PADF promotes blue entrepreneurship and job creation by supporting entrepreneurs working in key sectors – e.g., tourism, recycling, renewable energy, aquaculture – with access to capital, innovation, and technical assistance.

Education will play a key role in the blue economy. The hemisphere needs scientists and technologists. PADF offers STEM education in ways that enhance community engagement, foster innovative ideas, and identify concrete local solutions to reduce poverty and environmental impact.

The blue economy requires a trained workforce. Tourism, fisheries, renewable energy, and waste management are areas with strong livelihood connections. PADF bridges the gap between current skills and blue economy labor market needs. We seek to alleviate poverty, challenge gender stereotypes, and support inclusive economies.

Blue practices increase sustainability in water, energy, coastal cities, agriculture, and natural resource management. PADF helps coastal communities adapt to climate change, strengthens municipal governments’ capacity, embeds protocols for disaster risk reduction, and promotes green energy off-grid solutions.

Entrepreneurial solutions lead to sustainable economies. PADF promotes blue entrepreneurship and job creation by supporting entrepreneurs working in key sectors – e.g., tourism, recycling, renewable energy, aquaculture – with access to capital, innovation, and technical assistance.

Education will play a key role in the blue economy. The hemisphere needs scientists and technologists. PADF offers STEM education in ways that enhance community engagement, foster innovative ideas, and identify concrete local solutions to reduce poverty and environmental impact.

Blue economy graphic

Featured Partners

Ichthion Consortium

The Ichthion consortium, made up of the British company Ichthion, the Ecuadorian Naturelab, and Fundación Circular, works on projects focused on eliminating plastic pollution. This consortium implements projects that seek to prevent the consumption of single-use plastics through campaigns that promote habit change, environmental education, generation of public policy on the integral management of solid waste, the inclusion of informal recyclers in a safe and inclusive way in recycling systems, and the collection of suspended solids in hydrographic basins through the start-up consortium’s innovative technology, Azure.

Azure can be installed in waterways (primarily rivers) to collect up to 80 tons of plastics and other debris per day that can enter the ocean and affect key fragile ecosystems such as the Galapagos Islands. Azure has been installed on the Portoviejo River in Ecuador since 2021, involving a two-stage retention and extraction process. Since installation, it has been used to remove 565.7 kg of waste materials from the river, 547.47 kg of which was comprised of plastics. This process has involved the work of informal waste pickers, grassroots recyclers, and local communities, all of whom have played an integral role in training, implementation, and decision-making.

  • Fundación Circular: Fundación Circular works primarily with grassroots recyclers to improve their working conditions and wages and ensure a correct final disposal of recyclable material. Fundación Circular has contributed to the National Circular Economy Regulations (IENNEC), which shaped Ecuador’s Inclusive Circular Economy Law approved in July 2021. With PADF’s support, Fundación Circular has continued to create regulation for integral management of solid waste at the municipal level in the city of Riobamba, Ecuador, which includes grassroots recyclers.

Fondation pour la Protection de la Biodiversité Marine (FOPROBIM)

Since 2021, PADF has partnered with FOPROBIM on a coastal community climate resilience project, located on the Haitian island of La Gonâve. A history of limited resources, poverty, and a lack of environmental management has fueled extreme environmental degradation of La Gônave. Together, PADF and FOPROBIM are working to increase community understanding of climate risks, identify opportunities for improved management and utilization of coastal ecosystem services, and implement Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) measures to address the impacts of climate change using a ridge-to-reef approach. This process has been community-driven, involving stakeholders from civil society and the public and private sectors, as well as women and youth, in different steps of the project.

Featured Projects

Ayiti Blue Oceans Plastic Solution in Haiti (ABOPS)

Since 2020, PADF has been carrying out the ABOPS project funded by the Inter-American Development Bank, working with coastal communities in Haiti experiencing low economic development, high unemployment, and high pollution. A high volume of plastic waste present within these communities is left discarded in the streets, traveling seaward through canals and polluting coastlines and the ocean. This project aims to decrease ocean-bound plastic in coastal communities throughout Haiti, creating job opportunities in the blue economy in the process. Through this project, PADF is partnering with local recycling company ECSSA to build out a sustainable supply chain, and creating blue economy plans in coastal communities.

Tangible impacts have included cleaner coastlines, more recycled plastics, and the creation of new jobs and economic opportunities, the benefits of which are received by coastal communities, plastic collectors in ECSSA’s supply chain, university students, as well as local community associations and authorities involved within the blue economy planning process.

DRMI de Pastos Marinos “SAWÄIRÜ”: A New Marine Protected Area in Colombia

This 2018 project brought together private, public, and civil society stakeholders to declare a new 67,000-hectare marine protected area (MPA) in La Guajira, Colombia. The area became Colombia’s largest conserved seagrass area and is named after the Wayuu native word for sea turtle. MPAs like this are crucial to guarantee artisanal fishing zones that contribute to food security and stimulate the economy. Under this project, PADF worked with more than 3,000 people and 27 communities of the Wayuu indigenous group. Of the area that came under protection, 17.75% of the newly protected ocean and coast was designated as “preservation,” 67% of which was marine pasture.

STEM for Oceans

Royal Caribbean International and PADF both believe in the power of STEM as key driver for development. As such, PADF implemented an innovative pilot program in 2019 to showcase and build STEM education success in the Bahamas. The program had a “STEM for Oceans” initiative with the explicit goal of inspiring students to develop an interest in becoming future engineers and scientists. The program allowed the students to apply their math and science skills learned in the classroom as they engaged in hands-on activities that allowed them to build underwater remotely operated underwater vehicles (ROVs).

Additionally, students had the chance to collaborate in groups and sharpen their communicative, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills needed for the 21st century. Therefore, the program aided their ability to create stimulating classroom environments as well as design and deliver effective lesson plans to achieve desired learning outcomes. In addition, PADF provided the teachers with didactic materials, including lesson plans and robotic kits, to encourage hands-on and minds-on activities both at the RN Gomez School in Great Harbour Cay and at a STEM Summer Camp in Nassau.

Overall, the program was able to reach 103 students, 49 of whom were girls. Fifteen teachers were trained in STEM methodologies, and 10 ROVs were built. Learning and implementing STEM education has increasingly been recognized as a key driver for development and growth in countries worldwide. Through STEM, youth can develop the critical and analytical skills and knowledge to thrive in the workforce where success results not just from what one knows, but from what one is able to do with that knowledge.

Joaquin

Joaquín Vallejo

Senior Program Manager, Environment

Email: connect@padf.org

Sowmya Krishnamoorthy

Sowmya Krishnamoorthy

Director – Partnerships and Sustainable Finance

Email: connect@padf.org

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