Amigos de Sian Ka’an, a local nongovernmental organization (NGO), the oldest in the state of Quintana Roo, was established in June 5, 1986 by a group of scientists and conservationists. Amigos de Sian Ka’an participates in and contributes to many different programs to preserve the natural resources of the state. Their mission is to promote the conservation of biodiversity and the maintenance of ecological processes in Mexico for the well-being of present and future generations.

Their efforts are focused efforts within eight protected natural areas that include the reefs of Banco Chinchorro, and Xcalak at south of Quintana Roo, Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve, Cancun, the island of Cozumel and Contoy Island, covering 780,000 acres (3,200 km2). These areas touch each of the seven coastal municipalities of the state, the largest part being in Felipe Carrillo Puerto, where the vast majority of the Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve lies. One of the first projects was the establishment of the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve in 1986. The reserve was then named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. So far, in cooperation with other organizations, they have managed to preserve 1,000, 000 hectares by buying land in key areas in the Yucatan Peninsula and lobbying the creation of protected areas, which is also contributing to the Mesoamerican Biological corridor. Amigos de Sian Ka'an is currently based in Cancún, Quintana Roo, México.

Amigos de Sian Ka´an focuses its efforts within the state of Quintana Roo, in particular, the Sian Ka´an Biosphere Reserve, as well as collaborates with regional and international partners throughout the Mesoamerican region.

* Identify, protect and manage areas with high biodiversity value, as well as those essential for the maintenance of ecological processes, and those critical for the maintenance of the life cycles of endangered, threatened and migratory species.

* Generate tools and models, both biologically and policy based, to implement alternative resource and site conservation management options compatible with sustainable development.

* Provide training and environmental education, as well as develop commercialisation opportunities, to the different sectors of our society that will result in a sustainable use of the natural resources.

* Collaborate with and assist international organisations, federal, state and municipal governments, the private sector, local communities, other NGO´s, research and education institutions and individuals in achieving the above-mentioned objectives.

* Develop an efficient and modern organisation capable of successfully carrying out its mission and objectives.


With the participation of scientists, technicians, students, fishermen, farmers, rural promotors and administrators, regional and international partners, Amigos de Sian Ka'an have successfully carried out more than 200 conservation projects. All conservation actions are based on scientific and technical information for planning and implementing environmental policies and the proposal of viable solutions for sustainable use of natural resources.

In September 2012, after many years of work, the National Protected Areas Commission (CONANP) established, by Mexican presidential decree, a new protected area covering almost 38,000 hectares (94,000 acres) of wetland, coastal, and marine ecosystems on the island of Cozumel. This accomplishment significantly benefits the conservation of numerous endemic species and sub-species, the well-preserved local ecosystems, the Mesoamerican Reef, and the island’s population with the high ecotourism potential of Cozumel.

This fundamental step for Quintana Roo’s sustainable development was possible because of Cozumel society and fishing cooperatives commitment, the agreements among the municipal government, the state government (that formally protected 19,000 hectares, 47,000 acres of forests and wetlands in Cozumel) with CONANP, as well as the interest of the State Water Commission.

Many members of Amigos de Sian Ka’an participated in making this declaration possible. Amigos de Sian Ka’an participation in this project was possible because of the support from the North American Wetland Conservation Act (NAWCA), The Nature Conservancy, the Summit Foundation through the Mesoamerican Reef Tourism Initiative (MARTI), and funds generated with the generosity of their benefactors.

Website: Amigos de Sian Ka'an

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Phone: (998) 892-2958 or (988) 892-2959