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01/11/2021 Climate

LIVE: COP26 – Galapagos Climate Action

Keep an eye on our Live at COP26 blog for updates about Galapagos Climate Action

Photograph of Beth Byrne

Beth Byrne

Former Communications & Marketing Officer at Galapagos Conservation Trust


Saturday 13 November 2021

COP26 deal struck

The deal is the first ever one that mentions a plan to reduce the usage of coal, which is the worst fossil fuel for climate change. However, experts say that it won’t limit global warming to 1.5oC.

Find out more via BBC News. 

Wednesday 10 November 2021

COP26 draft text published

The draft text has set out the expected outcome of the COP26 talks, including a potential requirement for countries to re-negotiate next year in order to ensure they cut their greenhouse gas emissions. It has, however, been criticised for not providing enough help for vulnerable countries.

Find out more via The Guardian.

US and China announce they will work together

The US and China have declared that they will work together to achieve the 1.5oC temperature goal. 

Read the BBC article here. 

Our CEO’s perspective of COP26

Our CEO Sharon Johnson has reflected on her time at COP26, and what its outcomes so far mean for Galapagos.

Read the blog here

Tuesday 9 November 2021

A new analysis, by Climate Action Tracker, shows that the world is headed for a 2.4oC temperature rise, despite pledges made at COP26.

Find out more by reading the full BBC article here. 

Sunday 7 November 2021

Few willing to change lifestyle to save planet, The Guardian reports

According to The Guardian, a survey has found that people in a poll of 10 countries are prioritising measures that are already habits – such as increasing recycling.

Read the full article here

Saturday 6 November 2021

COP President Alok Sharma visits GCT stand

Our Chief Executive, Sharon Johnson spoke to President of COP, Alok Sharma about Ecuador’s announcement to expand the Galapagos Marine Reserve and our Plastic Pollution Free Galapagos Programme.

GCT’s Chief Executive Sharon Johnson and President of COP Alok Sharma

GCT stand in the Green Zone

Our team has a fantastic day in the Green Zone at COP26. It was incredible to speak to everyone who came by our stand, share ideas with friends and supporters, be inspired by the amazing young people, and stand side by side with other organisations fighting for climate action.

Jen – Head of Programmes, Beth – Communications and Marketing Officer, and Kelly – Senior Philanthropy Manager at the GCT stand in the Green Zone

Our Chief Executive, Sharon Johnson, spoke to her local MP Helen Hayes, at our stand and discussed the impact that cuts to UK international aid will have on our vital Plastic Pollution Free Galapagos Programme in Galapagos.

MP Helen Hayes and GCT’s Chief Executive Sharon Johnson at the GCT stall in the Green Zone

It was wonderful to meet up with our friends and supporters, Ocean Conservation Trust – discussed our Endangered Sharks of Galapagos programme, and we shared some new ideas – watch this space!

The Galapagos Conservation Trust team and the Ocean Conservation Trust team

Thursday 4 November 2021

GCT Meetings

It’s been a day of meetings for GCT. Amongst them, Chief Executive Sharon Johnson met the Ecuadorian Minister for the Environment, Water and Ecological Transition, Gustavo Manrique, to talk about our activities in Galapagos and how we can support each other. Our Ambassador Sarah Darwin also spoke with Prince Charles whose charity, The Prince’s Trust, supported our work several years ago. 

GCT Chief Executive Sharon Johnson meeting Ecuadorian Minister of the Environment Gustavo Manrique at COP26


GCT Ambassador Sarah Darwin talking to Prince Charles at COP26

Wednesday 3 November 2021

GCT’s Chief Executive Sharon Johnson and Ambassador Sarah Darwin interviewed for BBC online about GMR Expansion

Sarah Darwin, the great-great-granddaughter of Charles Darwin, botanist and ambassador for GCT, has welcomed the expansion of the #Galapagos Marine Reserve saying she is “very, very excited that President Lasso is taking the Galapagos so seriously”.

Our CEO Sharon Johnson highlights that it is very “important that the resources be put in place to adequately protect the newly enlarged reserve.”

You can read the full article here:

Tuesday 2 November 2021

GCT’s Chief Executive Sharon Johnson attends President of Ecuador’s Canning Lecture

Sharon attended the lecture entitled ‘More Ecuador in the World, and More of the World in Ecuador’ in Glasgow, along with Sarah Darwin, GCT’s Ambassador.

GCT’s Chief Executive Sharon Johnson at the Ecuadorian President’s Canning House lecture in Glasgow © Gillian Sweeney

Ecuador, Colombia, Panama and Costa Rica have come together at COP26 to create the Eastern Tropical Pacific Marine Corridor, an expansive marine protected area covering 500,000 km² 

This will encompass the new 30,000 km2 no-take zone to the north-east of Galapagos, and the 30,000 km2 no long-lining fishing zone around the northwest of the Galapagos Marine Reserve announced yesterday by President Lasso.


I think this is the first, and much needed step, towards a collaborative effort to support long-term conservation of sharks and other migratory species. Science has been key to provide information about the needs and threats to our marine ecosystems, taking action to protect them is an endeavour that requires the commitment and support of every party. This is just the beginning. – Diana Pazmiño, GCT’s Science Partner- a shark geneticist at Galapagos Science Center and USFQ

The President of Ecuador, Guillermo Lasso confirms announcement yesterday

Sharon Johnson, GCT’s Chief Executive, said, “This is very welcome news and a great step in the right direction, we applaud President Lasso on taking action. But there is more to be done to ensure that the resources are in place to properly enforce these new protected areas, so that millions of vulnerable migratory species can travel safely between the important feeding and breeding grounds of the Galapagos Marine Reserve and Cocos Island National Park. We must continue to strive for collective global action to ensure 30% of our ocean is protected by 2030.”

Sharon is set to meet with President Lasso later this evening and discuss our activities with other members of the Ecuadorian delegation and key influencers from the UK and Ecuador.

Prince Albert II of Monaco

It was great to hear Prince Albert II of Monaco speaking at COP26 this morning, highlighting the importance of oceans and nature-based solutions for protecting the climate and ecosystems while providing benefits for local communities. We are honoured to have support from Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation for science that contributed towards the Galapagos Marine Reserve expansion which Ecuador announced yesterday.

Monday 1 November 2021

Sharon Johnson, Chief Executive of Galapagos Conservation Trust arrives at COP26

Sharon Johnson in the Blue Zone at COP26 © Galapagos conservation Trust

We’re delighted that our CEO Sharon Johnson is at COP26 this week to discuss our activities with the Ecuadorian government and key influencers from the UK and Ecuador.

The President of Ecuador, Guillermo Lasso meets Sir David Attenborough

Ecuador announces expansion of Galapagos Marine Reserve

The President of Ecuador, Guillermo Lasso, has announced that Ecuador is committed to expanding marine protection around the Galapagos Islands by 60,000km² in order to increase their resilience to climate change. 

The new protected area is divided into two 30,000 km² zones. The first is a no-take zone, which connects the waters of Ecuador with those of Costa Rica, the second is a no longline fishing zone located northwest of the current Galapagos protected area, which will help prevent longlines from entering the current reserve.

This is essential to safeguard endangered species including sharks, turtles and whales in addition to supporting commercially important species such as tuna. It will also directly help local people as they benefit from spill-over effects in surrounding fisheries and the enhancement of eco-tourism opportunities provided by a healthier marine ecosystem. GCT has been working with partners for several years to gather the evidence needed to protect the unique marine resources surrounding Galapagos, and particularly the Galapagos-Cocos Swimway between Galapagos and Cocos island in Costa Rica, which will help to conserve vulnerable migratory species such as sharks, turtles and whales, from threats such as illegal and overfishing, and plastic pollution, as well as helping to preserve the livelihoods of thousands of people.

One of GCT’s partners, Jonathan Green, founder and director of the Galapagos Whale Shark Project, commented, “We hope that the research carried out by groups such as ours with the long term support from GCT and the Galapagos National Park can continue to provide the scientific data so necessary for the implementation of such Marine Protected Areas and will help with future actions and legislation to protect the ocean for the future of the planet.”

Sir David Attenborough addresses COP26

In his powerful speech as the People’s Advocate at COP26, Sir David Attenborough reminded us what we can all achieve – for Galapagos and for the planet. Telling us to show world leaders that we’re all watching, and we’re powerful together. 

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