The Charles Darwin Foundation for the Galapagos Islands holds its first virtual General Assembly

The Charles Darwin Foundation for the Galapagos Islands holds its first virtual General Assembly

--- Press Release --- This year’s General Assembly of the Charles Darwin Foundation (CDF) for the Galapagos, which took place on November 9 and 10, was conducted entirely virtually with the first morning open to the public, for the first time, through Facebook Live (https://bit.ly/3nhhyqk). Dedicated to the Galapagos Marine Reserve, the morning of this 49th annual General Assembly was devoted to science and conservation in the reserve—and featured presentations on science projects carried out this year by CDF investigators. The Foundation also released its 2019 Annual Report, summarizing work at the Charles Darwin Research Station in Galapagos, where it employs more than 100 people.

This event featured special guests, including remarks by Ambassador Luis Gallegos Chiriboga, Ecuador’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, and a keynote by Dr. Enric Sala, a National Geographic resident explorer and founder of National Geographic's Pristine Seas initiative. President of the Galapagos Special Regime Government Council, Minister Norman Wray and Mgs. Danny Rueda, director of the Galapagos National Park, presented during the General Assembly, where members participated from Galapagos, Ecuador and around the world. The General Assembly is the highest governing body of the now 61-year old Foundation.

"Ecuador believes that there is an urgent need to increase scientific research on biodiversity in general and specifically on how fishing in international waters adjacent to the exclusive economic zone and the Galapagos Marine Reserve may affect marine biodiversity and the sustainability of species found in the Reserve,” said Foreign Minister Luis Gallegos.

Enric Sala congratulated the Charles Darwin Foundation for its work and its attention to conservation in the Galapagos Marine Reserve. "I encourage you to continue working very closely with the government of Ecuador and to take advantage of this pandemic as an opportunity to improve the responsible use of fisheries and to restore the non-fishing areas of Galapagos so that both its population and nature can thrive”.

Following the theme of the Galapagos Marine Reserve and UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, launching in 2021, CDF Interim CEO and Science Director, María José Barragán P., presented science conducted at CDF in 2020 during the public session, and outlined the operation plan and budget for the coming year for the General Assembly.

“The Charles Darwin Foundation has celebrated the General Assembly, not only as the highest governance instance of the institution but also as a nice tradition, offering time and space for the members to meet, interact, and remember when at the same time looking at the advance CDF has been going through, on a yearly basis. The 2020 brought us the virtual format for the GA, which on the one hand altered the practice to re-join former colleagues and mentors, but on the other gave us the opportunity to also involve guests, from around the globe, to follow this event, celebrate the achievements of CDF and plan for the future, with hope” says María José Barragán P., CDF acting CEO and Science Director.

Director of the Galapagos National Park, Danny Rueda, in his presentation on work of the park over the last year highlighted, among other projects, joint work with CDF: "Before the health emergency, we had been carrying out a project in conjunction with the CDF to contribute to the survival of the vermillion flycatcher chicks in the highlands of Santa Cruz island. In 6 plots of 1 hectare each, introduced plant species, rodents, and the Philornis downsi fly were eliminated. The result is that at least 6 chicks have already been incorporated into the population dynamics of the species and by next year they could reproduce".

The Charles Darwin Foundation for the Galapagos Islands (CDF) is an international non-profit organization dedicated to scientific research. CDF has carried out its mission in Galapagos since 1959, thanks to an agreement with the Government of Ecuador and with the mandate to seek and maintain partnerships with government agencies, and provide knowledge and assistance through scientific research and complementary action to ensure the conservation of the environment and biodiversity in the Galapagos Archipelago.

The “Charles Darwin Foundation for the Galapagos Islands”, in French “Fondation Charles Darwin pour les îles Galapagos”, Association International sans but lucratif (“AISBL”), has its registered office located at Chaussée de la Hulpe 177 Bte 20 (rez) - 1170, Brussels, and is registered under the trade registry of Brussels under the number 0409.359.103.

© 2020 Charles Darwin Foundation. All rights reserved.