Situated in the Pacific Ocean some 1,000 km from the South American continent, these 19 islands and the surrounding marine reserve have been called a unique ‘living museum and showcase of evolution’. Located at the confluence of three ocean currents, the Galápagos are a ‘melting pot’ of marine species. Ongoing seismic and volcanic activity reflects the processes that formed the islands. These processes, together with the extreme isolation of the islands, led to the development of unusual animal life – such as the land iguana, the giant tortoise and the many types of finch – that inspired Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection following his visit in 1835.
2017 Conservation Outlook
Current state and trend of VALUES
Overall PROTECTION and MANAGEMENT
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Description of values
Unique underwater wildlife spectacle
Unique geological and geomorphological features
articles written and in developing remarks its geological importance in general. (SoOUV, 2013)
Unique example of how ecological, evolutive and biogeographic processes model islands flora and fauna
found anywhere else on Earth. This includes birds, insects, trees, rodents, iguanas and other endemic reptiles. Likewise, the Marine Reserve is a dynamic example of species interchange influenced by the climatic phenomena such as
El Niño, observed on the islands and providing important clues about how species evolve under changing conditions. (SoOUV, 2013)
High species diversity, including endemic and endangered species
In general, pressures in the Eastern Tropical Pacific are associated with tourism, trade and fisheries needs, as well as with the global commercial fleet (CMAR draft, 2017). Navigation in the Galapagos marine reserve has gradually increased, largely due to tourist demand but also for research, food and materials, income for instruction and forced arrivals (PNG, 2014).
Traffic between islands as well as control of tourist vessels has been strengthened through the formalization of environmental licensing in the different categories established by law (IUCN draft mission report, 2017).
The board of the Governing Council of the Special Regime of Galapagos have aproved a ministerial agreement to establish the necessary measures in order to achieve zero growth of tourism and migration, which is accompanied by regulations to limit the number of hotels and use of existing capacity - no new building licenses will be issued (mission draft report, 2017).
The creation and allocation of all sanitary – phyto, agro- and quarantine competencies within the archipelago to the Galápagos Biosecurity Agency represents a milestone in the trajectory of law enforcement required to undertake biological control in and outside the islands.
A number of NGOs, including the Charles Darwin Foundation that has worked on scientific and
management research on the islands since the inception of the Park, local chambers of tourism which promote and regulate tourism, as well as a number of fishing cooperatives also participate in
Four Management Plans for the Park were in place since 1974 (Mission report, 2010). The most recent Management Plan for Protected Areas of Galápagos was prepared in 2014 (Plan de Manejo de las Áreas Protegidas de Galápagos para el Buen Vivir, 2014).
Nevertheless, it seems that field activities such as boat interventions and inland control (e.g. ports) are still short of personnel, especially in the most populated islands.
The Biosecurity Agency has also managed to secure, in only 5 years, a remarkable amount of fixed-term specialized staff to deploy biological and agricultural procedures inside the islands; nevertheless, more personnel and conditions (e.g. proper locations for storage) are required on the mainland, e.g. in Guayaquil- (draft mission report, 2017).
|№||Organization/ individuals||Project duration||Brief description of Active Projects|
|1||Charles Darwin Foundation||Numerous projects for science and research, and technical assistance.|
|2||WWF||Projects focusing on sustainable tourism, regulating migration, innovative fisheries management, governance and enforcement of the Marine Reserve, renewable energy, and waste management.|
|3||Galapagos Conservation Trust||Funding of multiple projects in ecosystem restoration, climate change, and social issues.|
|4||Galapagos Conservancy||Multiple projects to conserve endangered species, develop support of local communities, ecological restoration, and coastal monitoring.|
|5||Wild Aid||Support to the GNPS for control and execution of marine surveillance; biosafety|
|6||Conservation Iinternational||Project focus on sustainable agriculture, fisheries and green development.|
|7||Migramar||Shark conservation: monitor and systematize data on whale and hammerhead sharks in the Eastern Tropical Pacific; inform policy-makers for threat addressing strategies|
|3||Agencia de Regulación y Control de la Bioseguridad y Cuarentena (2015). Plan Estratégico Institucional 2015 – 2018. Galápagos.|
|4||Borrador “Libro del Corredor Marino de Conservación y Uso Sostenible del Pacífico Este Tropical”, Parques Nacionales Naturales de Colombia – Comisión Colombiana del Océano.|
|5||Consejo de Gobierno del Régimen Especial de Galápagos (2016). Plan Galápagos: Plan de Desarrollo Sustentable y Ordenamiento Territorial del Régimen Especial de Galápagos 2015 – 2020”, Puerto Baqueziso Moreno, Galápagos|
|6||Consejo de Gobierno del Régimen Especial de Galápagos en http://www.gobiernogalapagos.gob.ec/|
|7||Draft mission report, 2017 (and annexes).|
|8||MacLennan, Alex. 2009. Breaking News: the Galapagos Islands are already suffering the effects of climate change. www.conservation.org/FMG/Galapgagos_and_climate_change.aspx.|
|9||Mission Report, 2010.|
|10||Plan de Manejo de las Áreas Protegidas de Galápagos para el Buen Vivir, 2014.|
|11||Retrospective Statement of Outstanding Universal Value, 2013.|