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20/12/2023 Events News

Celebrating our 2023 successes

With 2024 right around the corner, we wanted to take a moment to share some of the achievements we’ve accomplished this year with your help!

Hannah Rickets

Communications and Marketing Officer

From presenting research at the Our Ocean conference in Panama to supporting one of the largest and most complex eradication projects ever conducted on an inhabited tropical island, 2023 has been a truly remarkable year for GCT.

Making our mark on a global stage

At the beginning of March, the GCT team attended the Our Ocean conference in Panama, where our Chief Executive, Dr Jen Jones, presented preliminary results from the last five years of plastic pollution research in the Galapagos Islands and the wider Eastern Pacific.

Jen also shared with those who attended our side event some of the innovative solutions that GCT is supporting, including introducing reusable cups in shopping malls on the South American mainland and developing new bioplastics.

GCT team and panellists at Our Ocean 2023, Panama
GCT team and panellists at the Our Ocean 2023 conference © GCT

Connecting with our partners in Galapagos

Following our successful side event at the Our Ocean Conference in Panama, the GCT team set off on a three-week trip to visit many of our projects and partners in Galapagos. This included attending several workshops with Fundación un Cambio por la Vida, whom we partner with to deliver our Co-Galapagos project.

During these workshops, the team strategised on how we can most effectively support Co-Galapagos across the range of sustainable development themes the project tackles, including promoting sustainable tourism and improving employment prospects for young residents.

The team also conducted a drone workshop with the Galapagos National Park Directorate coastal clean-up team, during which the group learned how drone technology can assist with removing and documenting plastic pollution from coastal habitats.

Co-Galapagos / Galapagos Hub workshop
The GCT / Co-Galapagos workshop © GCT
GCT drone workshop with the GNPD coastal clean-up team

Plastic pollution and technology

Discover how GCT is using drone technology in the fight against plastic pollution

Learn more

GCT at the Global Plastics Treaty negotiations

In June, the team attended the second round of negotiations for a global agreement to end plastic pollution at UNESCO headquarters in Paris.

During the negotiations, GCT and our Pacific Plastics: Science to Solutions (PPSS) network were invited to share our positions at a GRULAC (Latin American countries and the Caribbean group) meeting and submit a joint action statement to the plenary, which called for world leaders to agree to an ambitious, legally binding Global Plastics Treaty that protects humans, biodiversity and promotes human rights and environmental justice.

GCT and PPSS team in front of the Greenpeace art installation in Paris
GCT and PPSS team in front of the Greenpeace art installation in Paris © Jess Howard

Galapagos Day 2023: Rewilding Galapagos

In October, we were thrilled to be joined by so many of our members, supporters and partners, along with many new faces, at our annual Galapagos Day event. This year, our theme was ‘Rewilding Galapagos’, and together with our expert speakers, we took an in-depth look at some of the ways in which rewilding and island restoration can repair damaged ecosystems, both in Galapagos and here in the UK.

A highlight from the evening was a special message from our surprise guest, Stephen Fry, who charmed us all with his tales of the Galapagos giant tortoise and the work that GCT is supporting to reintroduce tortoises to islands such as Floreana.

Galapagos Day 2023 speakers
Our speakers (L-R: Dr Jen Jones, Ambassador Luis Vayas Valdivieso, Dr Sarah Darwin, Dr Birgit Fessl, Charmian Caines, Professor Alastair Driver) © Akemi Yokoyama / GCT
Luis Vayas interview

An interview with Luis Vayas Valdivieso

Check out our interview with one of the elected Chairs of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee, Ambassador Luis Vayas Valdivieso, in which he discusses the Global Plastics Treaty negotiations and threats posed by plastic pollution.

Read more

Introducing Alberto the waved albatross

In November, we introduced the world to the third storybook in our Galapagos Journey series, Alberto the Waved Albatross! Aimed at primary school children (7-11 years old), the book invites us to join Alberto as he reunites with his partner Isabela on Española island, where they, along with 12,000 other breeding pairs, will take on the challenge of rearing a new chick together while overcoming many obstacles, including industrial fishing and plastic pollution.

Bringing Alberto and his family to life has been a long but rewarding journey involving many people in the UK and the Galapagos Islands. We want to thank our supporters for being a part of this journey and helping to shape the next generations of conservationists worldwide. 

Alberto the Waved Albatross © Lisa Brown

One step closer to restoring Floreana

In October, the next crucial phase of the restoration of Floreana began. Having been involved in the project for over a decade, we were thrilled to hear that the team had started the eradication phase, the largest and most complex eradication of invasive and introduced species ever attempted on an inhabited tropical island.

If successful, the team can begin species reintroductions in January 2024, starting with the Floreana giant tortoise. This is a significant step towards the ultimate goal of reintroducing 12 locally extinct species to the island.

Floreana mockingbird
A Floreana mockingbird © Luis Ortiz-Catedral

Get your copy of Alberto the Waved Albatross

Visit our shop to order your copy of Alberto the Waved Albatross, the third in our series of educational storybooks!

Order here

How you can help

If you are not already, please consider becoming a member to help play a vital part in the ongoing efforts to preserve and protect these incredible Islands and their unique flora and fauna. 

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