The most effective organization that can implement the solutions to the problems of the Galapagos while also achieving the aforementioned goals is a non-governmental one. Government organizations such as the United Nations have incredible power, but with strings of sovereignty attached. When the international community attempts to dabble in the affairs of Ecuador, resentment and poor cooperation can often result. However, recent events in the Galapagos have provided an interesting example of a possible policy mechanism.
When Ecuadorian president Lucio Gutierrez decided to fire GNP director Edwin Naula, many conservation groups put a hold on funding the park and indirectly the Ecuadorian government (MSNBC 2004). President Gutierrez began to consider instating Fausto Cepeda, a potential political puppet for Gutierrez and the fishing industry, as the next GNP director. After protests on both sides, the park rangers eventually won and Cepeda was not appointed as the new park director. More importantly, the president had agreed to meet with these conservation groups in deciding who will be the new park director ("Park Rangers End Strike", 2004).
Furthermore, there are multiple organizations (primarily NGOs) that are responsible for the fiscal wellbeing of the Galapagos National Park and Marine Reserve. An intuitive question arises: what if there existed some sort of international organization that acted as an alliance of funds to the park, one that could yield incredible bargaining power over the fishing industry and other aspects of the Ecuadorian government? The advantages to such a group would be tremendous. Issues of sovereignty, hegemony, and international meddling would be treated with more care than if an international governmental organization dictated rules to Ecuador. In accordance to this approach, the non-governmental organization ORGALA was created.
The purpose of ORGALA is to unite non-governmental organizations worldwide in a common interest of preserving and protecting the delicate and incalculably precious ecosystem of the Galápagos archipelago and surrounding waters. ORGALA will distribute critical funds to organizations who are working in and around the Galápagos in an efficient and well advised manner to maximize the positive impact on the preservation effort for the Galápagos. ORGALA will also strive to work closely with local and national Ecuadorian officials to bring about urgent changes of policy and commitment to the ecosystem of the Galápagos. Finally, in recognizing the essential part that education plays in the effort to protect the environment, ORGALA will encourage and support institutions that educate the general public of the archipelago and the Ecuadorian mainland on the nature of the priceless ecology of the Galápagos.
Goals of ORGALA
This organization and the constituents therein, recognize the threat posed to the environment of the Galapagos Islands. These threats include human activities such as fishing, poaching, touring, and developing on the islands. While this organization recognizes Ecuador's sovereignty over these islands, this organization will provide funding for specific issues that it wishes to resolve, both in terms of methodology and timelines. This organization will encourage and require input from the Ecuadorian government; however, it will remain as an independent organization with its own structure and schedule.
ORGALA will aim to protect the environment of the Galapagos Islands by taking measures that it deems necessary by providing research, funding, and workers to carry out its goals. ORGALA will aim to contribute funds to existing programs and for new programs that may be created. This organization will oversee all the programs in which it sponsors to ensure funding is directed according to its goals. ORGALA will work hard with the Ecuadorian government to ensure a coordinated effort to protect the environment. ORGALA will promote education of the residents of the Galapagos Islands as well as the residents of Ecuador to promote awareness of the unique environment of the Galapagos Islands.
Bylaws of ORGALA
- Entrance into ORGALA of new organizations will be decided by a two-thirds majority vote of the current representative board of ORGALA.
- The board must evalute each potential entrant according to the following criteria:
- Non-profit, non-governmental status
- Evidence of a strong, concrete basis of activism, concern, or support for the environment.
- A history of support for the environmental protection of the Galápagos, or a clear commitment to do so in the future./lir>
- Commitment to give a minimum annual donation of $15,000 US dollars to the treasury of ORGALA
- The General Assembly is composed of the scientific panel, the board of representatives, and any participating organization that lacks voting privileges.
- All proposals are originated and passed by the General Assembly.
- Each member organization must provide a scientist who will serve on the scientific panel of ORGALA. The scientist must be given a 5 year tenure during which the sponsoring organization must not alter his pay without consent or exert any other coercing influence on his actions within the panel. It is essential that the scientist may vote his conscience.
- Confirmation of a scientist into the scientific panel requires that the scientist fulfill the following qualifications:
- The scientist must be a recognized expert in the field for which his or her expertise is required
- Significant work in environmental field
- A history of advocating the improvement of the environment
- A scientist cannot be removed by the panel of scientists except by two-thirds vote of the scientific panel - such an action can be taken in the case of misconduct or neglect of responsibilities.
- In the scientific panel, each scientist will be allowed one vote.
- The scientific panel has the power to both draft and amend proposals.
Board of Representatives:
- Every member will send representatives equivalent in number or voting power proportional to the amount donated to ORGALA by each respective member.
- Proportional representation will require that after each fiscal year, allotment of votes reflect the changes in the total percentage donated to ORGALA by a member organization.
- Members of the board of representatives shall have the power to amend proposals.
The passage of proposals:
- Proposals must originate in the scientific panel.
- In order for a proposal to become policy in ORGALA requires a simple majority in both the scientific panel and the board of representatives.
- Any amendments to a proposal must pass both the board of representatives and the scientific panel.
- In the case of a tie in the scientific panel, the board of representatives will be the sole deciding body, and in the case of a tie in both bodies, the executive director will cast the deciding vote.
- A member organization may not vote in a measure that involves funds to be given to that organization. Therefore, only a simple majority of the remaining groups' votes will be required. In such a measure where ORGALA funds are donated to a member of ORGALA, the executive director must cosign the measure in order for it to become policy.
- Quorum will be two-thirds of the member organizations.
- A Quorum must be established before any passage of proposals can occur.
- An oversight committee will ensure the proper execution of programs and use of monies provided by ORGALA.
- The Scientific Panel shall be responsible for choosing the qualified and nonpartisan candidates that make up the oversight committee.
- The oversight committee shall report all findings to the Scientific Panel which will determine through simple majority vote whether to continue such a course of action, to propose a new course of action, or to change the current actions.
- Proposed changes shall pass with a simple majority in both the scientific panel and the board of representatives.
- Oversight shall be conducted at such intervals as designated by the Scientific Panel.
- The General Assembly shall meet at least once a month either physically or remotely by teleconference or through some secure medium.
- The executive director shall act as Chairman at each meeting.
- An emergency meeting can convene at the request of one fourth of all member organizations, or by the executive director. Such a meeting must occur within two weeks of a finalized request.
- At least annually the members must convene a meeting with a quorum present physically.
- Within every five years at least one meeting must be held either in Ecuador or it's province of the Galapagos.
- The Executive Director shall act as President of ORGALA and Chairman of the General Assembly.
- The Charles Darwin Foundation shall submit candidates for the position of Executive Director.
- A candidate for the office of Executive Director must be approved with two-thirds vote in both the representative board and the scientific panel in order to be confirmed for the office of Executive Director
- A candidate approved for the office of Executive Director shall hold the office for 5 years unless he or she is replaced
- Previous Executive Directors may have their names resubmitted for consideration for the office. There shall be no term limits.
- The President is responsible for disbursing funds exactly as the policy of ORGALA instructs him or her to do even in cases when the president is responsible for casting the determining vote.
- A two thirds vote in both the representative board and the scientific panel is required to have the CDF replace the executive director of ORGALA with another competent applicant for whatever circumstance the representative board deems it necessary or in the case the executive director resigns or is not able to complete the responsibilities of his office.
- The executive director may, if he or she wishes, appoint a committee of members to see that the funds of ORGALA are managed efficiently, to give reports to the representative body on the financial status of ORGALA, or to make recommendations on financial actions, or he may carry out those responsibilities alone.
- The executive director may, if he or she wishes, create positions to aid in carrying out executive duties.
- The Charles Darwin Foundation shall select the first members that will then select representatives and scientists.
- Every founding member must have already been a previously existing organization that has donated and played an active role in the Galapagos for a minimum of one year.
Amendment of the Bylaws:
- Changes to the bylaws of ORGALA may be proposed by any voting member of the General Assembly.
- Amendments to the bylaws of ORGALA will only pass with at least two-thirds majority.
ORGALA, an organization made of the NGOs with a common goal would provide a strong voice about the ecological sanctity of the Galapagos Islands. The unity created by ORGALA, greater than the sum of individual parts, will have the political and economic influence necessary to protect the fragile ecosystems. Each NGO would be provided with a voice that would contribute to the organization and strengthen the cause of each NGO in the organization. Whereas all the NGOs will see their influence increase, larger and smaller NGOs may see benefit in different ways.
By joining ORGALA, larger NGOs will see a tremendous increase in their political influence, for they are organizing a unified front for the protection of the Galapagos Islands. While some individual NGOs have, in the past, already been able to change policies by controlling the funding, with a united front, they will be able to continue to do so, but more effectively and efficiently. Their will be greater recognition from around the world to both this organization and the concern for the environment as a whole. In addition, ORGALA will provide a forum to promote communication between individual NGOs. Members of the scientific panel will have the advantage of meeting and exchanging their ideas -- possibly with different perspectives and different expertises -- to find the best possible solution to a given problem.
The smaller NGOs will realize an increase in economic power that they would not have independently. They will have a voice in an organization aimed to fulfill a common cause. While some may worry about special interests, these NGOs will see their relative influence increase through the structure of the organization. Each of these NGOs will see a greater proportional economic strength through ORGALA than if they acted independently. To provide some rough figures of the assets of potential investors as currently listed on their respective websites:
Charles Darwin Foundation -- $4.9 million
Galapagos Conservation Trust -- <$1 million
World Wildlife Fund -- $336 million
WildAid -- $1.1 million
Of course it is possible that organizations such as the Inter-American Development Bank would be invited to join, especially since they represent billions of dollars of influence (IADB 2004). Similar organizations such as the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) may also join, but there membership must be carefully weighed to minimize political influences and promote purely environmental concerns.
See an outline of how ORGALA functions.