Galapagos Islands Environment Controversy

July 30, 2010 § Leave a comment

Galapagos Tortoises in the Wild

Portions translated from El Universal

The decision to remove Galapagos Islands from UNESCO’s endangered list has created a controversy with other environmental organizations concerned about the well being of the island’s ecosystem.

Yesterday, the International Union for Conservation of Nature ( IUCN ) considered “premature” UNESCO resolution stating that “tourism , fisheries and species introductions are still a danger to the living laboratory of evolution. ”

“The threats of tourism, invasive species and over-fishing still exist. We recognize the efforts of the authorities and there has been progress, but we would like to see the work completed, “said Tim Badman , Head of World Heritage Program IUCN.

This is a position shared by  Oswaldo Rosero, the head WildAid, argued that the programs promoted by the Government are still inconclusive and that the declaration could be neglected.

He noted, for example, persistent failures than controls of tourist boats that operate without permission.

Deborah Chiriboga, environmentalist also criticized the management of the islands because , in her view , is political , not technical. She explained that a vision prevails and conservation planning

She found that many problems facing Galapagos whose solutions will not come urgently to be out of the list of endangered heritage. Both were concerned that the decision of UNESCO will be exposed only as a political achievement.

Meanwhile, Maria Fernanda Espinosa from the Heritage Ministry yesterday lamented what she called ” slanderous criteria of some international environmental groups ” about what problems remain in the islands.

She said that in three years of government have made significant progress, although there are still major challenges: ” To improve and refine the operation Agrocalidad controlling invasive species and migration control systems, ensure the quality of life for Galapageños with local government and consolidate a model of tourism. ”

Washington Tapia, director of the Galapagos National Park admitted that there are challenges to meet , but noted that maintains high levels of Galapagos conservation. He said that conservation does not mean, ” keep the islands in a box. ” ” If there are people there is no risk. “

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