Purpose of the International Committee
The purpose of the committee will be to consolidate and streamline the current management structure on the Galapagos. They will help legislate and implement our unified preservation strategy, as well as the proposed plans for the ecovillages and the monitoring system. A major advantage of this new international structure is its integration of an international perspective to the current management of the preserve, a goal that will be achieved by including representatives from major donor countries and NGO's drawn from the multinational trust. Another main aim of the committee will be to give the various local groups a greater and more evenly distributed voice on the management of the island. A large portion of the committee's power will come from the control they have over the money in the trust, as it will be their job to distribute this amount to various agencies and programs to ensure proper enforcement of all the regulation already established and those to come. In this manner, the committee can ensure efficient use of the conservation money and that the most urgent needs are met first.
The best structure for the international committee would be one that is modeled after the UN, with a voting council and non-voting members. In order to achieve an ideal balance of the relative importance of inputs from various governments, NGO's, and local interests, the voting council will consist of a group of permanent members and groups of rotating members. The balance of voting power works out in such a way that the governmental representatives and the NGO's should each consist of approximately 30%, while the remaining 40% of the votes will come from the local representation.
The selection process for the voting members of the committee will be as follows:
- the various native representatives will be elected by their constituent bodies and will each be a permanent member of the committee (further details below);
- the permanent groups of NGO's and foreign governments will be comprised of the the top three contributors to the multinational trust from each category. The pool of rotating members will be drawn from the next top eighteen NGO and governmental donors (nine from each category), six of which will sit on the voting committee alongside the permanent members at any giving time.
The local representation on the permanent panel of the committee will consist of:
- 3 mayors (each from one of the ecovillage)
- 1 representative of the agricultural villages
- 1 representatives of the artisan fishing cooperatives
- 1 representative of the tourism sector
- 1 representative of the educational system
- 1 representative of the natural guides
To ensure that the elected officials will have a truly thorough understanding of the islands, there needs to be a requirement that all representatives except the mayors need to show proof of legal inhabitance on the islands for at least 15 years. The fisher and tourist representatives should be elected by the artisan cooperatives and tourism associations currently operating on the islands. The first education representative should be nominated by GAIAS.
Particular emphasis must be placed on the participatory management of the locals.
Current efforts of this--as seen in the participatory management board of the
Marine Reserve--have largely failed to integrate the opinions of the local population
in the policy planning for the islands. It is essential to the maintenance of
stability and promotion of cooperation that the local groups feel like they have
a say in their future and are not manipulated by mainland politics or foreign
interests. In terms of education, local involvement on the management board--which
inherently involves intensive contact with the scientists, economists, etc. will
promote the rapid spread of knowledge. In addition, the composition of the local
representative body at the committee should look like a cross section of the
various groups on the Islands. This justifies the representatives for the farmers
and the educators as well as the those from the more outspoken artisan fishing
and tourism sectors.
Nonvoting seats will be filled by other members of the multinational trust--those not on the voting council, elected representatives of smaller local organizations, as well as by advisors from the Ecuadorian government. This will assemble a fair and widely distributed representation of the stakeholders of the Galapagos, who will be responsible for advising the voting members of the committee through the communication of their opinions on pertinent issues. In addition, there will be a small subcommittee of scientists on the international committee who will function as liaisons between the various scientific teams on the islands and the administrators on the committee. As informed experts on the environmental status of the Galapagos, they are responsible for advising the administrators on issues relating to conservation policy.
Powers and Responsibilities
It is important to note that the idealized form of the international
committee as proposed in the "Structure" section does not take into account the
current institutions already in place. In order not to intrude upon the sovereignty
of Ecuador, the powers of the committee should be limited to that of an advising
body to an appropriate level of Ecuadorian government. Its task will be to write
environmentally sound legislation and have the Ecuadorian government approve
of it, as well as distribute the funding to various projects. Furthermore, it
should be responsible for carrying out the policies that are passed. Currently,
the Galapagos National Institute, INGALA, is performing many of the functions
attributed to the committee above, but it does not incorporate the international
dimensions and local participation that we have noted as essential to a smoother
function of the preserve. As a result, a survey conducted in 2000 indicates approximately
30% confidence in INGALA among the local population. (Foundation Natura, 2001)
The Structure of INGALA
Despite its shortcomings, INGALA gives us a great starting place for our proposed international committee. As specified in the Special Law and the General Regulation, INGALA is a public entity with legal status, its own capital, its own budget, and administrative and financial autonomy. It serves as a technical advisor for the institutions in Galapagos, as well as the planning and coordinating entity for the Galapagos Province at a regional level. INGALA is made up by the Council and the Technical Secretariat, exercised by the Management and its dependencies.
The Council of INGALA is the collegiate body that sets up the policies and activities of the province of Galapagos. It is assisted by three specialized committees: the Institutional Coordination Committee, the Technical and Planning Committee, the Evaluation and Control of Residence Committee.
The members of the Council are:
- The Minister of the Environment (who acts as the chairman);
- The Minister of Finance and Public Credit;
- The Minister of National Defense;
- The Minister of Tourism;
- The Minister of Foreign Trade, Industrialization and Fisheries;
- The Executive Director of National Institute of Forests and Natural Protected Areas (INEFAN);
- The provincial Prefect of Galapagos;
- A representative of the Association of Municipalities of the province of Galapagos;
- The President of the Provincial Tourist Chamber of Galapagos -- CAPTURGAL;
- A representative of local fishermen cooperatives of the province of Galapagos;
- The president of the Ecuadorian Committee for the Defense of Nature and the Environment -- CEDENMA;
- A representative of the farmers and cattle raisers of the province of Galapagos
- The Governor of the province of Galapagos.
The Charles Darwin Foundation is part of INGALA's Council, with the authority to express opinions but not to vote.
The powers of the Council of INGALA include:
- To approve the general policies for the preservation and sustainable development
of the province of Galapagos;
- To approve regional planning policies and territorial use for the development
of the province;
- To be informed of and approve the annual budget of INGALA's operational plan and annual financial statements
The Technical Secretariat of INGALA is in charge of implementing all the decisions
of the Council and chaired by the Manager. The latter is appointed by the President
of Ecuador, and is responsible for the following:
- To execute the Council's decisions and decide upon all general management and staff administration activities pursuant to enforcing the regulations;
- Exercising the legal, judicial and extra-judicial representation of INGALA;
- Entering into contracts and agreements with national and foreign public and private sector agencies;
- To present to the Council, for its approval, the politics for conservation and maintainable development of the Insular Region and particularly the strategy for the conservation and maintainable development;
- To present to the Council for its approval the general outlines based on technical analysis, in the following matters:
- Waste transport
- Waste elimination
- Establishment of sanitary structure
- Determination of the number and type of motorized vehicles and machineries that can enter the Archipelago;
- To point out the maximum permissible levels of environmental contamination applicable to the Archipelago zones; and,
- Types and levels of economic activities compatible with the conservation and with the strategy to achieve the maintainability of Galapagos.
For a more complete list of the powers of INGALA's Council and Secretariat, see the Special Regime Law for the Preservation and Sustainable Development of the Province of Galapagos
and the General Regulation for the Application of the Special Regimen Law for the Galapagos Province
Integration of the International Committee into INGALA
In order to smoothly integrate the international committee with the existing
structure of INGALA, the proposed structure of the international committee should
be the basis for a new subcommittee of INGALA that takes on some of the responsibilities
of the Manager and the Specialized Councils. In particular, the voting panel
of the subcommittee should be the group to decide on policy and regulation proposals
to be proposed to INGALA's Council for approval. The subcommittee should also
have the power to approve of any contracts or agreements that the Secretariat
makes with foreign agencies. Since neither the Manager nor most of the members
of the Specialized Councils are popularly elected by the people living on the
Galapagos, this new distribution of power would be more democratic and would
encourages greater participatory management.
Since there are already members on the Council of INGALA who
represent the same local groups as some of the voting members on the international
committee, it is important to have separate election processes for each representative.
That is, one person cannot be on both the Council and the voting panel of the
international committee. The nonvoting members of the committee will be integrated
into the three specialized councils and take part in their function of gathering
information from all the sectors on the islands and advising the voting group
of the committee in the formation of general policies and guidelines.
In order to promote future stability, the designation of key officials in the management boards of the GNPS and the Marine Reserve must be made by the voting group of the committee and approved by INGALA. In particular, the director of the GNP needs to be appointed by the voting members of the committee, though the appointment needs to be approved by the Ecuadorian Congress. In this way, it will be ensured that these officials are qualified, unbiased specialists rather than political tools. Once the committee gains the acceptance and respect from the local population as a fair and unbiased representation of their interests, these appointed officials will receive more cooperation in their programs and not be so easily removed from their posts due to local unrest or political whims.
The committee will also have the power to apportion money from the multinational trust to the conservation and development projects on the islands. In particular, this means funding the installation and upkeep of the monitoring systems and the construction and establishment of the ecovillages. Since the main donors of the trust will also be voting members on the committee, they will have a say in how their contributions will be spent--a voice balanced by those of the scientific and administrative specialists in the committee. This will cease the disruptive practice of using threats of funding withdrawal in order to demand the repeal of unpopular legislation.
The newly internationalized INGALA will be responsible to UNESCO under the World Heritage Guidelines as well as to the Ecuadorian national government. After a transition period of one year, evaluations can be performed by organizations such as UNESCO, CDF, or WWF to monitor the performance of managing institution as well as the World Preserve's fulfillment of the World Heritage Site definitions.
The frequency of gatherings of the different groups in INGALA should be as follows:
- The scientist subcommittee are to meet quarterly to assimilate the research being performed on the islands and the monitoring data being stored in the central database;
- All of INGALA besides the Council and Secretariat are to meet semiannually to compose legislation proposals and debate them before their submission to the Council. The voting committee will also approve the budges of sectional entities' budges and control their execution, as well as advising and assisting any Galapagos' institution that may require it. These meetings will comprise of two of the aforementioned meetings of the scientist subcommittee;
- The entirety of INGALA will meet once a year to pass the legislation proposed by the voting committee and to have the Secretariat begin implementation of the new regulations. The Council of INGALA will also consider and approve the appointments of management officials made by the committee.
Elections of the local representatives to the international committee will take place once very two years. The selection of organizations on the voting panel is evaluated every two years based on the current status of donors in the multinational trust.
In order to give the committee the legal authority to carry out its proposed functions, INGALA must pass new internal regulations and submit them to the Ecuadorian National Government. The incorporation of the international committee into INGALA is in complete accordance with the statutes of the Ecuadorian Constitution, and only minor adjustments need be made to the Special Regime Law (mostly about the Management of the Secretariat). Laws also must be passed to sanctify the institutionalization of the multinational trust and to afford it legal status in Ecuador. The newly designation World Scientific Preserve as governed under the internationalized INGALA need to be recognized by UNESCO, and the World Heritage Site description need to be updated accordingly.
Since the committee will bring with it all the persuasive influence afforded by the multinational trust, it is expected that Ecuador will be willing to modify the existing regional management structure of the Galapagos in order to have a greater source of funding. In addition, the complexity and cost of the proposed monitoring system and ecovillage requires greater funding and sources of expertise than can be provided by the current managerial system on the Galapagos. In contrast, the formulation of an international committee with links to the multinational trust and the integration of said committee into the current regional governing institutions will provide an abundance of both. In addition, the strong representation of the locals on the voting committee will increase regional confidence in the management of the preserve and the promotion of stability in the community. This will greatly ease the collaboration between the committee, the municipal governments, and the local population to formulate effective means of implementation for ecovillage reconstruction.
Looking to the Future
In order to counter the current threats that now face the fragile ecosystems of the islands, the world community must take steps to ensure that future generations can continue to enjoy such a special and pristine ecosystem. Yet the ultimate aim of the international effort should be to promote the self-sufficiency of the local constituents and their municipal government. If our proposals are successfully implemented and yield desired results, then the native population will learn how to properly care for and manage the precious ecosystem admist which they are fortunate enough to inhabit and upon which they base their livelihoods. Once this is accomplished, there will no longer be a need for such intensive investment in conservation and management, as the Galapagos Islands will be able to govern and protect themselves.
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