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Galápagos Islands

Factors affecting the property in 1995*
  • Financial resources
  • Fishing/collecting aquatic resources
  • Impacts of tourism / visitor / recreation
  • Invasive / alien marine species
  • Invasive/alien terrestrial species
  • Management systems/ management plan
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Fire (issue resolved);
  • Limited protected area;
  • Over fishing;
  • Tourist pressure;
  • Lack of financial resources
International Assistance: requests for the property until 1995
Requests approved: 22 (from 1979-1994)
Total amount approved : 405,350 USD
1994 Fire figthing equipment for Galapagos (Approved)   50,000 USD
1992 Revision of the management plan for Galapagos Islands (Approved)   29,000 USD
1992 One fellowship for an officer from the Galapagos ... (Approved)   3,100 USD
1992 Support to 3 resource persons and organization of a ... (Approved)   15,000 USD
1992 Financial contribution to a training course organized ... (Approved)   20,000 USD
1990 Training in Costa Rica of one specialist from the ... (Approved)   2,000 USD
1990 Study to investigate the impacts of tourism on ... (Approved)   14,000 USD
1989 Purchase of 2 motor-boats and spare parts, as well as ... (Approved)   59,500 USD
1989 Financial contribution to the Charles Darwin Foundation ... (Approved)   20,000 USD
1989 One study grant enabling the superintendent of ... (Approved)   4,000 USD
1988 Purchase of 4 boats for strengthening the protection of ... (Approved)   54,000 USD
1988 Consultancy services for reviewing and preparing a ... (Approved)   4,250 USD
1987 1.5 month consultancy mission to follow-up the zoning ... (Approved)   2,500 USD
1987 Contribution to consultancy mission for the development ... (Approved)   2,000 USD
1987 Provision of 2 experts for 3.5 months to advise on the ... (Approved)   15,000 USD
1986 Financial support to the environmental education and ... (Approved)   20,000 USD
1985 Contribution to the training of an environmental ... (Approved)   2,500 USD
1985 4-month training in management of protected areas ... (Approved)   6,000 USD
1985 Contribution to purchase of equipment for Galapagos ... (Approved)   10,500 USD
1982 Financial contribution to a national training course ... (Approved)   10,000 USD
1979 Purchase of equipment to eliminate invasive species in ... (Approved)   50,000 USD
1979 Training seminar in the Galapagos (Approved)   12,000 USD
Missions to the property until 1995**
Information presented to the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee in 1995

It is recalled that a fire devastated some 8,000 hectares of Isabela Island in 1994, 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 is in continuous contact with the authorities concerned, including the President of Ecuador, the President of the Environmental Commission, UNDP, the Galapagos National Park authorities and the Charles Darwin Foundation concerning both the preservation of the site and further action concerning the Galapagos Marine Reserve. A representative of the World Heritage Centre attended the annual meeting of the Charles Darwin Foundation on 5 and 6 April 1995.

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 1995

In spite of repeated requests to the Ecuadorian authorities to provide detailed information on the state of conservation of the site, no information has been received. It is hoped that at the time of the nineteenth session of the World Heritage Committee, information on the situation at the site can be made available by the State Party and IUCN.

The Bureau may wish to note that current information seems to indicate that the site is exposed to threats and that consideration should be given to placing it on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 1995

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 1995
19 BUR VI.20
Galapagos National Park (Ecuador)

The Bureau recalled, at the request of the Delegate of Germany, discussions at previous sessions concerning both the state of conservation of the site as well as further action concerning the Galapagos Marine Reserve. By letter of 27 January 95, the Centre requested the Ecuadorian authorities to provide information in time for the Bureau meeting, but no reply was received. The Representative of IUCN informed the Bureau that the situation at the site had not improved, but that time has not allowed the presentation of a report to this Bureau. A report will be prepared for the nineteenth session of the World Heritage Committee

19 COM VII.A.2.13
SOC: Galapagos National Park (Ecuador)

VII.13 Galapagos National Park (Ecuador)

The Committee took note of a report presented by IUCN on the site. This report outlined, while acknowledging efforts by the Ecuadorian authorities concerning legislation and cooperation with local authorities, the threats this site is currently facing. These are mainly:

(a) threats to the terrestrial biodiversity with the introduction of species of vertebrate animals endangering endemic flora and fauna, as well as the growing human population, which has severe impacts for example for solid waste disposal,

(b) threats to the marine biodiversity with illegal and increasing export fisheries (lobsters, sea cucumbers, sharks, tuna, etc.).

Action should be sought to solve the problems of immigration, of introduction of foreign species, to obtain more funding, to prepare a strong management strategy and its effective implementation for both the terrestrial and marine habitats as well as to control tourism.

The Representative of IUCN concluded that in light of the serious threat of species introduction and increasing population the Committee may wish to consider to place the site on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

The Delegate of Ecuador took the opportunity to explain the situation at the site and presented a letter to the Committee outlining the Ecuadorian position regarding the situation of the Galapagos.

He underlined:

(a) the inadequate legal and administrative structure, the population growth, the illegal fishing in the Marine Resources Reserve of the Galapagos, unbalanced tourist activities and the impact of foreign species introduced to the island;

(b) that Galapagos - according to scientists - continues to be an exceptional treasure of the world from which no species has been lost;

(c) that the global community make a precise and objective diagnostic of the situation in the light of available information;

(d) that numerous measures to safeguard the Galapagos have been taken, including constitutional reforms, management plans and international assistance projects by GEF, UNDP, USAID and others.

He concluded that the site should not be placed on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

The Director of the Centre offered that assistance be given to the Galapagos National Park as one of the precious sites of worldwide significance, which deserves special attention. After considerable discussion on the issue of placing the site on the List of World Heritage in Danger by the Delegates of Germany, the united states, Canada, Niger, Cuba and Australia, the Chairperson requested that the Delegates of Australia and Ecuador work out a proposal to be presented to the Committee.

The Committee reviewed the text proposed jointly by the Delegates of Australia and Ecuador.

The Delegate of the United States recalled the Articles 77- 90 of the Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention and underlined, while recognizing the sensitivities of this question, the Committee should consider the threats to the site. The Delegate of Germany supported this remark and suggested to create an ad hoc aid commission for the Galapagos as international assistance would be needed. The Delegate of Niger supported the suggestions made by the United States and Germany, and underlined that international help would be needed in this case. The Delegate of Japan proposed to review point 3 of the text concerning actors operating in the area.

The Delegate of Ecuador thanked the Delegate of Germany for his suggestion of an aid Committee, but however emphasized, that this would be an issue to be decided by his Government. Ecuador would be grateful for any help through official channels. He furthermore underlined that the proposed text was a consensus text and that it should be adopted.

The Chairperson, taking note of the concerns raised by Ecuador, asked the Committee to adopt the following text by vote. (14 Delegates voted for the text and there were 5 abstentions):

1. The Committee notes the five greatest problems threatening the conservation of the Galapagos Islands identified in the statement presented by the Delegate of Ecuador.

2. The Committee also notes the various legal and technical efforts made by the state Party to overcome these problems.

3. The Committee takes note of the state Party's opinion that some of the threats to the Galapagos have been caused by international factors, such as overfishing by foreign fleets for foreign markets, and seeks international cooperation in reducing these threats.

4. The Committee also agrees with the state Party that tourism to the site should focus on education, photography, observation and appreciation of heritage values.

5. The Committee recommends that the Director of the World Heritage Centre accepts the invitation from the state Party to visit the Galapagos Islands, with the Chairperson of the Committee and appropriate technical advisors, to discuss the pressures on and present condition of the World Heritage site and to identify steps to overcome the problems.

6. The Committee invites the state Party and the Director to report on the outcome of the visit for further consideration by the Bureau at its twentieth session, including the question of whether or not the property should, at that stage, be recommended for inclusion on the List of World Heritage in Danger.


Extension of a Deferred Site: Galapagos Marine Reserve (Extension of the Galapagos Islands) (Ecuador)

Galapagos Marine Reserve (Extension of the Galapagos Islands)



The Committee recalled that it deferred the inscription of the Galapagos Marine Reserve at its eighteenth session due to serious threats to the site and in accordance with the IUCN recommendation and the wish of the Observer of Ecuador.

The Delegate from Ecuador requested that the marine extension of the site be deferred until the twentieth session of the committee. This was agreed by the Committee.

The Bureau recommended that the full report be presented to the Committee by the representatives of IUCN and IUCN's regional Office and - before taking any decision - to give the Delegate of Ecuador the opportunity to provide information on the situation at the site.

Report year: 1995
Date of Inscription: 1978
Category: Natural
Criteria: (vii)(viii)(ix)(x)
Danger List (dates): 2007-2010

* : The threats indicated are listed in alphabetical order; their order does not constitute a classification according to the importance of their impact on the property.
Furthermore, they are presented irrespective of the type of threat faced by the property, i.e. with specific and proven imminent danger (“ascertained danger”) or with threats which could have deleterious effects on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (“potential danger”).

** : All mission reports are not always available electronically.