Galápagos at Risk
In 1979, the Galápagos Islands were designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, signifying their “outstanding value to humanity,” due to their exceptional biodiversity and pristine ecosystems. As a unique living laboratory, they inspired Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution and continue to inspire new generations of nature lovers and adventurers. They are, indeed, a priceless world heritage.
But the pristine ecosystems and unique wildlife that have made the Galápagos Islands one of the world’s premiere nature tourism destinations are at risk. In 2007, the World Heritage Committee recommended that Galápagos be added to UNESCO’s List of World Heritage in Danger due to such threats as invasive species; population growth; unsustainable legal fishing and illegal fisheries; inadequate government transparency, accountability and oversight; poor education and lack of opportunity for residents; and the impacts of tourism.
In 2010 the World Heritage Committee recommended that Galápagos be removed from the List of World Heritage in Danger, citing the significant progress made by Ecuador in addressing these problems. However, these problems still exist and the travel industry and travelers have an obligation to help solve them.
Learn what IGTOA is doing to combat these threats: IGTOA in Action