Galapagos Celebrates Their 33rd Anniversary on the World Natural Heritage List
Guest Commentary by Sea Shepherd Galapagos
On September 8, 1978, during a session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage of UNESCO, the Galapagos Islands, upon Ecuador’s request, were inscribed onto the World Heritage List. The islands became one of the first twelve sites to be designated as a world heritage in accordance to the 1974 Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (World Heritage Convention). The inscription on the list was extended in 2001 to the Galapagos Marine Reserve.
According to the World Heritage Convention, natural heritage sites include natural features of outstanding universal value from the point of view of science, conservation, or natural beauty. The Galapagos Islands meet all criteria for inscription of sites on the World Heritage List.
Due to the importance of Galapagos, Sea Shepherd has been present in this archipelago since 2000, when the Sirenian was delivered to the Galapagos Islands under the terms of a five-year agreement with the park’s authority to patrol the recently established Galapagos Marine Reserve.
In 2006, Sea Shepherd opened a permanent office in the islands in order to work closer with local environmental law enforcement agencies on the protection of marine species.
Today, we are still working hard to provide innovative tools for better law enforcement including:
- Supporting the one and only K9 Police Unit on illegal wildlife traffic in Latin America
- Installing an Automatic Identification System (AIS) (extensive radio network) that will soon monitor the movement of all vessels in the Galapagos Marine Reserve
- Advocating for a complete judicial transformation to include natural heritage values in judicial decisions
- Educating future environmental leaders of Galapagos
Sea Shepherd’s commitment towards cooperating with marine law enforcement is now stronger than ever. Working in the field is not easy, as not everybody understands the importance of environmental law. In fact, poachers, finners, and other criminals would like to see us out of here for good. Nevertheless, we stand proud of our work and are always ready to cooperate with law enforcement authorities that work hard on the protection of sharks and other species that inhabit this unique world natural heritage site.
Sea Shepherd salutes and celebrates the 33rd anniversary of the inscription of Galapagos onto the World Heritage List.