On March 29, 2023, Dominic Ziegler (Board of Directors) and Claudia Haas (Management) had the opportunity to visit the Ecuadorian Embassy after an invitation from the Ecuadorian Ambassador Débora Salgado-Campaña.
Señora Salgado-Campaña reported that the Ecuadorian government is making great efforts to ensure the protection of the Galápagos Islands and the surrounding Galápagos Marine Reserve. We are pleased that President Guillermo Lasso has advocated for the expansion of the existing Galápagos Marine Reserve to include the 60,000 km2 of the "Hermandad". This means that the Galápagos Islands are now surrounded by a total of 198,000 km2 of marine protected area.
President Lasso also succeeded in securing financing for the continued protection of the archipelago and the expanded marine protected area with the help of a debt swap. With the help of Credit Suisse, President Lasso was able to reduce the national debt by buying back Ecuadorian government bonds worth 1.43 billion Swiss francs. In return, the government has committed to investing the funds released from the reduced repayment obligations in the protection and preservation of the Galápagos Islands.
In this way, further projects will be financed that help to reduce plastic pollution and to protect important and endangered migratory species such as the scalloped hammerhead sharks or the sea turtles in the long term.