High Level Workshop on Sustainable Development

(adapted from a press release emitted by the Galapagos National Park Service - translated from Spanish in part thanks to Google Translator)

From 29 November to 3 December, the main authorities of the islands, along with NGOs, the United Nations and the private sector, worked at establishing a joint vision focusing on sustainable development and quality of life in the islands.

The Minister of Environment (Marcela Angiñaga) and the Minister of Heritage (Fernanda Espinosa ) both known personally by CNH Tours, led the workshop, with support from  the Galapagos National Park Service, the Charles Darwin Foundation, Eliecer Cruz of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Scott Henderson of Conservation International (CI) - both also CNH Tours friends, the Helmsley Trust Foundation and Linblad Expedition.   The workshop was entitled "Joint Vision on quality of life and sustainability of the Galapagos Islands".  The workshop took place aboard the National Geographic Endeavour cruise ship.

Participating in this workshop are the main stakeholders involved in Galapagos, Central government authorities, the National Planning Administration, local governments, NGOs, etc. who all sought to promote a shared vision for the Galapagos.

Fernanda Espinoza, the Heritage Minister said: "It was an opportunity to establish agreements on the strategic agenda for Galapagos and participatory budget for the year 2011 along with a plan that guides us for 2011-2014. These initiatives were discussed and agreed to with the mayors, government agencies and local municipal councils - a first for Galapagos. "

"Having created this common agenda is a great achievement and we have take part in a different kind of politics. I am very optimistic given the dedication manifested by the local stakheholders.  It was a joint effort and hopefully could be replicated in other parts of the country, "said Environment Minister, Marcela Aguiñaga, who along with her technical team of the Galapagos National Park Service, made important contributions.

The Galapagos has known many conflicts in recent years, over fishing, tourism modalities and more.  It's good to see the most senior government officials directly involved in multi-stakeholder processes designed to find consensus based solutions to these challenges.   It's also important to note that the workshop was led by the ministries of Environment and of Heritage.  CNH Tours would have been concerned had it been led by the Ministry of Economic Development / Tourism, for whom Galapagos biodiversity conservation is not a top priority.