The World Summit on Island Sustainability was hosted from 26 June to 30 June in Galapagos, at the Galapagos Science Center on San Cristobal Island.
During this international event, scientists shared their research in relation to island conservation and sustainability, including GCT’s President, Monty Halls and our Head of Programmes, Dr Jen Jones.
Islands are epicentres of biodiversity loss
The heightened impact of invasive species and climate change on islands can have devastating impacts on island biodiversity. Throughout the summit, researchers, NGOs and global island experts provided interesting case studies from other island ecosystems, with some acting as a cautionary tale of what could happen without change in Galapagos. Aiming to elevate the Galapagos Islands in the conservation discourse, the summit emphasised sustainability as a joint force shared between institutions, the community, and tourists.
GCT President Monty Halls opened the discussion on Challenges to Island Sustainability on Monday, giving a talk on ‘Galapagos – The Next Generation’. Throughout his talk, Monty highlighted that by teaching about the natural world in schools, as well as emphasising communication and leadership skills, we can inspire the next generation of conservationists.
On Wednesday afternoon, GCT’s Head of Programmes, Jen Jones joined Tamara Galloway from the University of Exeter to speak about ‘Science to Solutions in Galapagos’. Driven by the University of Exeter and supported by the Global Challenges Resource Fund, Evolution Education Trust, Galapagos Conservation Trust and others, the Pacific Plastics: from Science to Solutions project unites scientists, communities, NGOs and industries to create a network of individuals that have joined forces to conserve our oceans, protect marine wildlife, and support people whose livelihoods depend on the health of this unique ecosystem. Jen’s talk highlighted the ways in which research, community, NGO and policy actors are coming together in order to improve ocean protection, tackle the issue of plastic pollution, and inspire climate action in Galapagos.
The World Summit on Island Sustainability emphasised the need for island resilience, both in the ecosystem and in social contexts. Through case studies of other islands, the summit provided hope that by working together with local communities we can support Galapagos to become more sustainable and resilient. We need to not only highlight the problems islands are facing, but to find the solutions.
Written by Jodie Assinder, GCT’s Operations Officer.
How you can help
GCT is working on an ambitious, long-term programme to manage the threat of marine plastics and make Galapagos plastic pollution-free once again. Find out how you can help support our Plastic Pollution Free Galapagos programme