Ecuador reports to U.N. on Galapagos state of conservation

The last time the World Heritage (WH) Committee discussed Galapagos (July 2014), it asked the government of Ecuador (GoE) to send it a detailed report on this WH Site's state of conservation by December 2015.  That report was sent at the end of February, and just now published on the UNESCO WH Centre website.  

In 2007, the WH Committee (made up of representatives from 21 countries, and in charge of listing new WH sites, putting them on the "Danger List" or removing WH sites from the list if they have lost their conservation values) decided to place Galapagos on their "Danger List" in response to a variety of threats, mostly linked to increased concerns about the introduction and dispersal of alien species linked with a rapid rise in uncontrolled development in the islands.  The GoE took this issue seriously, and based on its reaction, the WH Committee was satisfied that appropriate measures had been taken, and removed the site from the Danger List in 2010.  

The latest report (63 pages with some tables and pictures) is a wonderful read for those who care to understand more about the challenges of conservation in Galapagos.  The document can be found on UNESCO's website by clicking here.  

It is divided into 4 sections:

1) Biosecurity:  Concerning the management of alien species, the current state of affairs.

2) Tourism:  How it is monitored, controlled. 

3) Governance:  How various institutions are involved in managing Galapagos

4) Solid Waste: (linked to point 1 above).

As a former staff person at UNESCO's WH Centre in Paris, I have seen many such reports.  They contain plenty of interesting information under one cover, and hard to find anywhere else.   Of course, governments all have a tendency to paint a rosy picture when reporting on how they're doing at managing their WH sites!  

The WH Committee will be reviewing this report, along with other information gathered in the meantime, during its annual meeting in July.   Based on its findings, the WH Committee will likely request that the GoE undertake specific actions to ensure those values for which Galapagos is globally recognized are conserved.   

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