The Galapagos Islands are a province of Ecuador. The head of the province is the Governor, representative of the President of the Republic, who coordinates and controls the policies of the national government and directs the activities of civil employees and representatives in the province (Ecuadorian Department of State, 2003). The provinces have total autonomy and are wholly responsible for their economic and social development and the handling of natural resources, although the permanent national objectives in economic and social matters are established on a national level. The policy of the State of Ecuador is to protect and conserve the ecosystems in the Galapagos Islands (Dobkowski, 2001).
The Ecuadorian constitution also gives the Galapagos Islands a position as a special regime. Special regimes have their own territorial administration based on their special demographical and environmental nature. Because of the declaration as a special regime, the Galapagos Islands can limit the rights of internal migration, work and any activity that may affect the environment. The residents of the respective areas, affected by the limitation of his or her constitutional rights, will be compensated by means of the preferred access to the benefits of available natural resources. Other sectors will be governed in agreement with which they are established in the Constitution (Ecuadorian Department of State, 2003).
The Galapagos National Park Service is responsible for provincial planning, approves the budgets of the dependent and independent organizations, and controls their execution. Park service is also an advisory body for the governor, provincial prefect, mayors, and other offices that the law establishes (Ecuadorian Department of State, 2003).