1.         Galápagos Islands (Ecuador) (N 1bis)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1978

Criteria  (vii)(viii)(ix)(x)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger  N/A

Previous Committee Decisions  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1979-1994)
Total amount approved: USD 405,350
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds


Previous monitoring missions


Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 1994

It is recalled that a fire burned some 8,000 hectares of Isabela Island, part of the Galapagos National Park, inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1978. Emergency assistance was provided to the site under the World Heritage Fund (US$ 50,000). Meanwhile, the World Heritage Centre has received a preliminary report, photos and a video film on the fire.

The President of Ecuador wrote a letter on 26 July 1994 to the Director General of UNESCO thanking him for the important contribution made by the World Heritage Fund and the immediate action undertaken by the World Heritage Committee and the Centre to preserve the fragile biodiversity system of the islands in the framework of the World Heritage Convention.

On 30 September 1994 the Centre was informed that the President of the Republic of Ecuador has taken further action concerning the Galapagos Marine Reserve. IUCN will report in more detail on this issue under the agenda item on nominations.


Report included in Document WHC.94/CONF.003/7rev:

The Bureau recommended that the Committee include the Galapagos Marine Reserve proposed as an extension to the World Heritage site of Galapagos Islands on the World Heritage List.

The Bureau requested the Committee to commend the Ecuadorean authorities for extending the World Heritage property to include marine habitats extending to 40 nautical miles from the islands.

The Bureau however, was concerned that the proposed Marine Reserve, and the Galapagos Islands faced the following threats to their integrity:

These threats call for mitigative actions via-a-vis:

 The Committee is requested to examine IUCN's report and then to decide on the appropriate actions.


Report included in Document WHC.94/CONF.003/7rev:

In view of the prevailing threats to the integrity of the extension proposed in the Marine Reserve and the Islands, the Bureau recommended that the Committee include the Galapagos (Islands and the extension of the Marine Resource Reserve) in the List of World Heritage in Danger and request the Ecuadorean Government to convene, in co-operation with the World Heritage Centre, a donors conference to prepare a plan for financing a programme of actions to mitigate the threats to the integrity of the site.

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN


Decision Adopted: 18 BUR VI.B

The Bureau was informed that a fire broke out at Isabela Island on 12 April 1994 and was discovered by a patrol boat of the Galapagos National Park authorities. The fire combat was very difficult, involving park personnel and both the army and the navy. After one month the fire was under control, but 4,500 ha were burnt. The giant tortoises are not at risk, but the extinction danger remains. The authorities have received emergency aid from the World Heritage Fund (US$ 50,000), UNESCO (US$ 20,000) and several governments, NGOs and individual donors. The Bureau took note of the report and recalled that the extension of the marine reserve of the Galapagos Islands will be discussed under the nomination section of this report.

Decision Adopted: 18 COM XI

Galapagos Marine Reserve (extension of the Galapagos Islands)



The Committee recognized that the Marine Reserve met natural heritage criteria. However, in accordance with the recommendation of IUCN and the wish of the Observer of Ecuador, it deferred the inclusion of the Galapagos Marine Reserve as an extension of World Heritage site of Galapagos. The Committee commended the Ecuadorean authorities for their efforts to enlarge the World Heritage property to include marine habitats extending to 15 nautical miles from the islands. It also noted the proposal of the Ecuadorean authorities to extend marine habitats up to 40 nautical miles. But the Committee was seriously concerned that the proposed Marine Reserve and the Galapagos Islands faced the following threats to their integrity:

These threats call for mitigative action vis-a-vis:

The Committee noted the commitment of the Ecuadorean Government which, in cooperation with IUCN, the Centre and a number of international conservation organizations, is considering several measures to ensure protection of the Marine Reserve and the Galapagos Islands. Furthermore, the Committee was informed that the Ecuadorean Government was considering a donors' conference in early 1995 to propose a series of actions to mitigate the prevailing threats to the integrity of the Marine Reserve and the Islands, as well as a financial plan for the implementation of those actions. Hence, the Committee requested IUCN and the Centre to report back to the Bureau at its nineteenth session on progress made to strengthen the conservation of the Marine Reserve and the Islands.