Winner avatar
2023 Continuation Funding
2019 Continuation Funding
2014 Whitley GOLD Award
2010 Continuation Funding
2008 Whitley Award
2006 Associate Award Winner
Jean Wiener Haiti Coastal and Marine
Conserving Haiti’s Coastlines

Winner of the Whitley Gold Award donated by The Friends and The Scottish Friends of The Whitley Fund for Nature

Humanitarian and environmental challenges

Haiti is the poorest nation in the western hemisphere with 80% of Haitians living in poverty. Just 1% of Haiti’s original forest cover remains and, without the development of sustainable income generating alternatives, damaging activities such as over fishing, mangrove loss and the development of salt pans will continue to threaten biodiversity in Haiti’s fragile coastal and marine ecosystems.

From grassroots to government

For over 20 years, local Haitian, Jean Wiener, has worked tirelessly to address the severe environmental issues affecting his country. With his NGO, FoProBim, Jean focuses on addressing the needs of local communities through education, conflict resolution, and livelihood development. Jean also engages the Haitian government to achieve important environmental monitoring, management, and protection.

A Whitley Award winner in 2008 and a 2010 Continuation Funding recipient, with the support of WFN and other funders, Jean has:

  • Provided data to support the creation of Haiti’s first two Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in 2013, covering over 2,100km2.
  • Engaged the government to pass environmental legislation to protect all of Haiti’s mangroves, providing blanket coverage along 1,700km of coastline.
  • Worked with local people to reuse over 100,000 plastic containers collected as marine debris and recycle them as mangrove plant pots in reforestation activities.
  • Initiated new sustainable livelihood activities helping to reduce mangrove cutting.

Building on his success

Jean’s actions will now help Haiti to participate in regional and global initiatives, literally putting Haiti on the map as a country now committed to protecting and managing its coastal and marine resources. With his Gold Award funding, Jean aims to provide more local communities with the means to earn sustainable livelihoods and manage protected coastal resources, whilst continuing to work with stakeholders and officials to establish two additional MPAs, totalling 1,600 km2. Jean will also advance plans for a bi-national MPA with neighbouring Dominican Republic, covering over 1,700 km2. This would be the first bi-national MPA in the Caribbean.

“People who previously did not have the support they needed to voice their opinions have now become more vocal. This is a GREAT thing!”



Strengthening management of Haiti’s marine resources
£70,000 over 2 years

Jean’s organisation, FoProBiM, has helped establish Haiti’s first six Marine Managed Areas (MMAs) including the 750 km2 of the 3Bays MMA. Situated in the northeastern part of the country, it comprises five counties and approximately 1,000 fishers where fisheries have been found to use destructive methods that are “vacuuming” juvenile fish from the ecosystem. These are wiping out what should be, by many estimates, the most productive ecosystem in Haiti, which if properly managed, would easily produce more than 20 times the marketable catch currently harvested. Overfishing here is causing incalculable harm to local ecosystems and biodiversity including endangered sea turtles and manatees, with livelihood repercussions in a country where 80% of the population are living in poverty.

With his Continuation Funding, Jean aims to address the 3Bays management plan’s priority actions. This includes providing training to rangers, increasing the number of MMA patrols and monitoring and providing a gear swap programme where current illegal and damaging fishing gear can be traded for legal and sustainable gear. Finally, by working with fishers, Jean aims to develop alternative sources of revenue in apiculture to reduce pressures on the fisheries, which without the improved management his is working to instil, face collapse. Thanks to this work, Jean is turning the tide for marine life and those reliant on ocean resources in Haiti.


2023 Continuation Funding

Putting down roots: Stabilising futures through marine and coastal management
£100,000 over 2 years

The management of Haiti’s Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) officially lies with the National Agency of Protected Areas (ANAP) and local municipal/county mayors, but an absence of allocated budget means there is a lack of training in the public sector to manage and monitor resources effectively. Jean Wiener and his team at FoProBiM have established a team of Eco-Guards (Gad Ekolojik) who are currently the only park rangers working within any of the MPAs, but there is a desperate need to scale up this work.

MPAs in this region are under continued direct threat from unsustainable and extremely damaging fishing and agricultural practices; coral exploitation for construction material; marine pollution; and the cutting of trees and mangroves for fuel wood and charcoal production. Such activities leave local communities more vulnerable to climate change, as the environment becomes less resilient to storm surges and flooding, food security is threatened and local livelihood incomes diminish.

Continuation Funding will enable Jean to build capacity among the ANAP, local government authorities, Haitian university students, FoProBiM and the Gad Ekolojik team to govern and manage resources in the 3Bays MPA. He will also provide training and equipment to fishing communities to ensure effective management of a further 10,000 hectares.

Raising awareness among communities about generating viable and sustainable incomes that don’t harm local biodiversity and ecosystems, is a key factor in overcoming the challenges that Jean and his team at face in this vulnerable environment. Traditionally, local people have regarded environmentally friendly income options as being limited to sea salt production, small-scale agriculture, and fishing, but using Continuation Funding, Jean and his team will provide alternative livelihood options to 200 stakeholders living around the 3Bays MPA, including expanding upon already successful beekeeping and honey sales programmes and developing breadfruit flour initiatives.

Using educational activities, they will work to promote the benefits that coastal and marine ecosystems provide to individuals and the community, engaging 100 fishers in sustainable methods and swap damaging illegal fishing gear for more sustainable equipment. Together with local stakeholders, Jean and his team plan to rehabilitate the area; reforesting and restoring ecosystems through planting 25,000 mangroves and measuring the carbon sequestration potential of the mangrove forests to explore incentives the protection of coastal ecosystems.