Decision : 30 COM 7B.29
State of Conservation (Galápagos Islands)

The World Heritage Committee

1. Having examined Document WHC-06/30.COM/7B,

2. Recalling Decision 29 COM 7B.29, adopted at its 29th session (Durban, 2005),

3. Regrets that the report submitted by the State Party was not provided in one of the working languages of the Convention (English or French);

4. Commends the State Party for having implemented a transparent process which led to the successful selection of a director for the Galapagos National Park Service, ending an extended period of instability;

5. Commends international donors and development agencies for their continued commitment and support for the State Party's efforts for conservation and management of the islands and in particular the State Party's recently launched initiative of establishing a Donors Roundtable and its Galapagos 2020 vision process, designed to coordinate activities and investments;

6. Also commends a number of partners and NGOs actively involved in the conservation and management of the islands for their continued support and in particular the Charles Darwin Foundation (CDF) for its long term and successful scientific support to Galapagos National Park;

7. Notes with great concern the variety of threats that the property faces as noted in the report of the 2006 World Heritage Centre/IUCN mission;

8. Requests the State Party to organize, in cooperation with IUCN and the World Heritage Centre, a multi-stakeholder meeting, no later than March 2007, to i) help advance the development of the Vision for Galapagos process and ii) to clearly define benchmarks and timeframes against which progress can be measured and to which commitment of relevant national authorities and ideally of international cooperation agencies is formally obtained. Results of this meeting are to be presented for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 31st session in 2007. These benchmarks and timeframes should address, as a minimum, the following issues to the satisfaction of the World Heritage Committee:

a) Increasing number of access points to Galapagos, both air and marine, further compounding the threat of introduced species.

b) Sub-optimal resource allocations for critical Galapagos conservation agencies, in particular, the Galapagos National Park Service (GNPS), the National Galapagos Institute (INGALA) and the Quarantine and Inspection System (SESA-SICGAL);

c) Processes for the selection of leading senior posts for INGALA and SESA-SICGAL remain to be strengthened;

d) On-going presence of a large number of illegal immigrants living in Galapagos;

e) Sports fishing activities operating in a regulatory vacuum;

f) Rapid and uncontrolled growth in tourist arrivals;

g) Non-application of aircraft inspection and fumigation regulations;

h) Non-application of quarantine measures and phytosanitary practices on cruise ships and cargo ships, as they sail between islands and from the continent to Galapagos;

i) Fishing over-capacity and insufficient alternative opportunities for fishermen;

j) Patterns of movements of people and goods between islands and between the continent and Galapagos, leading to increased opportunities for the dispersal of introduced species;

k) Continental departure points and Galapagos entry points understaffed and lacking necessary infrastructure to carry out effective inspection services;

l) Commercial shipping to Galapagos carried out by vessels very poorly designed to contain the risk of transporting alien species;

m) Absence of a comprehensive strategy for building the capacity of permanent Galapagos residents so that they may be better prepared for employment opportunities that have traditionally been filled by non-residents;

n) Educational reform, as called for by the Special Law for Galapagos in 1998, is not yet implemented; and

o) Sufficient capacity to detect and react to new introductions of alien species from the continent and between the islands of the archipelago.

9. Requests the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN mission to participate in the meeting noted in point 8 above;

10. Calls on donors and development agencies to focus on rapidly capitalizing a permanent financing mechanism supporting the excellent applied research and management work carried out by the GNPS and the CDF, with emphasis on the Global Environment Facility-United Nations Development Programme (GEF-UNDP) endowment fund, to a level of at least USD 15 million.

 Decisions Report
Context of Decision
Themes: Conservation
Focal Point: NAT
States Parties: Ecuador
Properties: Galápagos Islands
Year: 2006
Decision Code: 30 COM 7B.29