25 year relationship renewed with the Darwin Foundation

The director of the Charles Darwin Foundation (CDF), Arturo Izurieta, sent an email to the CDF members of the governing council yesterday (I am one), announcing the 25 year renewal of the agreement of cooperation with the Government of Ecuador (GoE).  The CDF was established as an international organization in 1959 under Belgian law.  The previous 25 year agreement was to come to an end in October of this year. 

The new agreement gives the CDF the authority to operate the Charles Darwin Research Station in the Galapagos Islands.  A significant modification is the creation of a "Coordination Committee" to (quoting from the agreement):

1. Determine the requisites of the Science Coordinator of the CDRS as per SENECYT parameters.
2. Elect, from a set of 3 pre-selected candidates proposed by the Executive Director of the CDF, the Science Coordinator for the CDRS.
3. Determine the policy of research carried out at the CDRS in the framework of the Law, policy that will consider the financial potentialities and or limitations.
4. Approve the annual and pluriannual research plans of the CDRS after its approval by the General Assembly of the CDF.
5. Determine the methods of registrations and affiliation, storage and communication of the scientific production and intellectual property, generated from the research at the CDRS.

This 7 member committee is to be comprised of 5 government or para-governmental representatives, UNESCO, and CDF.

Also, a "Scientific Advisory Committee" is to be established, with the following mandate:

a. Advise the Executive Director of the CDF on the formulation of research plans of the CDRS
b. Suggest new tendencies and orientations on scientific research matters.
c. Propose actions to improve the CDRS
d. Others of consultative character that requires the Executive Director of the CDF

This 6 member committee is comprised of 5 government / Ecuadorian university representatives with the option for more, with a focus on internationally renowned scientific experts. 

The agreement includes further clauses which allow for tax free importation of goods for the CDF, but also require the CDF to report to the GoE on a regular basis, and to have any scientist working there seek formal accreditation from the GoE.  Of note is a clause that hands over the CDF logo and brand to the GoE upon termination of the agreement and that all property, infrastructure and equipment is to become the property of the GoE.

While it is good news that the CDF is given long term assurance of its ability to operation the Research Station, this agreement represents a tightening of the reigns in regards to what the CDF will be doing, and how it will do it.   There is not obligation on the part of of the GoE to provide any financial contribution, yet the CDF appears to be losing some operational freedom.   Will this make it harder to raise the funds required for the CDF's on-going existence?  Time will tell.