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Implementation completion report

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                  Region: LCR
                  Country: Ecuador
                  Project ID:P057025
                  Grant No. TF021769

GEF Medium-Size Project:


APRIL 30, 2003

Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela Country Managing Unit

Environmentally and Socially Sustainable Development Sector Unit

Latin America and the Caribbean Region

The World Bank Group




GEF-MSP Grant No. TF021769


FN Fundación Natura

GSL Special Law on the Conservation and Sustainable Development of the Province of Galapagos (Galapagos Special Law)

ME Ministry of the Environment

MT Ministry of Tourism

GNPS Galapagos National Park Service

CDF Charles Darwin Foundation / includes references to Charles Darwin Research Station

CEDENMA Ecuadorian Committee for the Defense of Nature and the Environment




GEF-MSP Grant No. TF021769

I. Basic Data……………………………………………………………………………………4


The bank’s supervision is necessary 28

Audit reports covering April 1999 to March 2000 and April 2000 to December 2000 28

The audit report was prepared in accordance with the Grant Agreement requirements. The auditors issued qualified opinions on the Statement of Sources and Uses of Funds; and a qualified opinion over the Compliance with applicable laws and regulations. The internal control was evaluated as not satisfactory, and the internal control assessment presents some recommendations. The audit reports were qualified, due to lack of information and the incorrect interpretation of the guidelines of the Bank. There were several recurrent topics that presented problems for the administration of funds. However, the projects' accounting and finance staff all demonstrated a willingness to promptly take corrective measures and promised to confirm these corrections in writing to the task manager. 28

Specific Problem Areas 28

Audit report covering January 2001 to December 2001 29



I. Basic Data
1. Date of Preparation of Completion Report: December 30, 2002
2. Title of GEF Medium Sized-Project: Monitoring the Galapagos Islands
3. GEF Allocation: US $ 941,350.00
3a. Period of Project Implementation: January 1999-June 2002. (First disbursement received in April 1999).
4. Grant Recipient: Fundación Natura
5. World Bank Task Manager/Task Team: Gabriela Arcos
6. Goals and Objectives (include any changes in the objectives):
The goal and objectives were not modified during project implementation.
The goal was to conserve globally important species and ecosystems of the Galapagos Islands through the establishment of a system to monitor the status of critical ecoregions and the assessment of the effectiveness of the implementation of governmental legislation and policy framework related to conservation and sustainable management of the Galápagos.
The specific objectives were: i) To establish a sound monitoring system to measure the well being of the ecoregions of the Galápagos Islands; ii) to monitor the key sustainability variables of the Galápagos Islands, and iii) To provide information to local stakeholders and policy makers for the adequate management of the Galápagos ecoregions.
7. Financial Information
A GEF disbursement of US$ 33,390 was received on March 15, 1999 for eligible expenditures incurred between April 1, 1999 and June 30, 2000. No further disbursement was made after June 30, 2000. However, the project continued to execute programmed activities until April 10, 2001, when we received the second disbursement of US$ 268,641.47. The third disbursement, of US$ 339,318.53 was received in November 6, 2001.

Period covered by the Disbursement

Date received


January to June 1999



December 1999 to June 2000



December 2000 to June 2001





At the initial stage of project implementation and during the first year, two main financial management issues were identified:

  1. Payment of local taxes from the Special Account

  2. Delay, lack of accuracy and insufficient support documentation in financial reporting by the Charles Darwin Foundation, which in consequence caused a delay in the presentation of financial information by Fundación Natura. The Charles Darwin Foundation received, trough an agreement with Fundación Natura, a total amount of US $ 420,000 to carry out the fisheries and biological monitoring.

These issues were properly addressed and solved during the second year of project implementation.

Also, an extension of the project was approved on September 12, 2001. The closing date was established at June 30, 2002. The funds were reallocated as follows:

Expenditure Categories

Original Allocation of Grant Proceeds

Reallocation as of September, 2001




Technical Assistance



Operational Costs






The original financing plan, including co-financing by WWF, Fundación Natura and Charles Darwin Foundation as stated in the Project Brief was as follows:



F. Natura



Expected outcome 1: Impact of fishing activities





Expected outcome 2: Biological monitoring system





Expected outcome 3: System to monitor tourism





Expected outcome 4: Monitoring social status





Expected outcome 5: Strengthening local capacity





Expected outcome 6: Flow of information











In the case of WWF and Charles Darwin Foundation, co-financing was planned as in-kind. Co-financing provided by Fundación Natura was planned about 50% in kind and 50% in cash. The in kind portion co-financed technical assistance, while the portion in cash co-financed project’s operational costs. During project implementation, the total amounts of co-financing increased in about 54 % (257,665), as shown in the table below.

As stated in the Project Brief

Actual cofinancing

Origin of funds







Studies and policy proposals for migration issues, Support to the Educative Reform.

Fundación Natura



Solid waste management project in Santa Cruz, emergency funds raised for the Jessica emergency, studies and policy proposals for migration issues.




Biological and Fisheries monitoring.

II. Project Impact Analysis
1. Project Impact
Outcome 1: Establishment of a system to monitor the impact of the fishing sector in the ecosystem

  1. Participatory monitoring system of fisheries catch in Santa Cruz, Isabela and San Cristobal Islands.

This activity aimed to strengthening the Participative Fisheries Research and Monitoring Program that was launched by the Charles Darwin Foundation (CDF) in year 1997 and is executed by the CDF, the Galapagos National Park Service (GNPS) and fishermen from the four fishing cooperatives of the Galapagos. In the same year, Fundacion Natura (FN) signed an agreement with the CDF in order to support the monitoring program and to impulse the search for connections between the fisheries and marine biodiversity in the Archipelago.

The headquarters of the Program, where all databases and equipment are hosted, are located in the CDF in the Island of Santa Cruz. The Monitoring Program developed a system that monitors catches, places, and actors in the finfish fishery, that takes place year-round, and the lobster and sea cucumber fisheries, that occur only in authorized seasons. This information is cross-referenced with the GNPS, which keeps databases on ships, fishermen, and fishing coops.
Indicators obtained are delivered to the Participatory Management Board (PMB) and the Inter-institutional Management Authority of the Marine Reserve (IMA) which use them to define policies on fishing seasons, the sustainability of artisanal fishing, the regulation of the growth of the fishing fleet and personnel, etc. The GNPS uses the information to plan its patrolling activities within this extensive area. Summary reports of the monitoring were delivered to FN and published in the Galapagos Reports.
The monitoring effort compiles information from fishing sites along the archipelago. A total of 19,542 fishing sites were reported between 1997 and year 2001. More than 100 marine species were monitored and very detailed information was obtained on commercial species: sea cucumbers (which started to be legally fished in 1997), spiny lobsters and slipper lobster. Monitoring of other species that are caught for local consumption (octopus, snail and chitons) started during year 2002.

  1. Analysis of fishing activities & trends in: (a) vulnerable coastal species; (b) benthic biodiversity of samples of various marine bio-geographic zones.

The definition of a baseline against which to measure changes in marine biodiversity took place between May 2000 and December 2001, after all stakeholders agreed on a zoning of the marine reserve. The CDF studied the composition of the marine biota, especially non-commercial species, around the archipelago. Using remote sensors, basic oceanographic variables (superficial temperature and chlorophyll concentration) were incorporated to the study. The CDF produced a report during year 2002, correlating fish and invertebrate diversity with oceanographic variables. The same report compares these variables with registered captures and fishing effort of lobster, sea cucumber and bacalao between 1997 and 2000.

The baseline consisted of censuses of endemic and non-endemic large invertebrates (echinodermata, mollusks and crustaceans) taken in 485 transects; and of fishes in 535 transects. A first important conclusion was that there exists a large concentration of endemic fishes in the western area of the archipelago. Around ten times more endemic species of fishes were registered around Fernandina and the west of Isabela, than in the Darwin and Wolf Islands.
The study confirmed the existence of a strong correlation between the El Niño phenomenon (ENSO) and the lobster population. The populations of lobster of commercial size increased approximately two years after the 1997-1998 ENSO and have decreased ever since, probably due to an increase in the number of active fishermen.
Regarding sea cucumber, it seems that this species prefers the cold, chlorophyll rich waters in the west of the archipelago, where most endemic fishes are. This indirectly threatens the conservation of this biodiversity. A case in point is that of the endemic scallop (Nodipecten magnicus). Anecdotal reports state that its abundance has lowered during the last decade, probably due to a combination of the impacts of the ENSO and its capture by fishermen as they look for sea cucumber. Big amounts of scallop shell were found in illegal fishing campsites in Isabela during the nineties.
The study also concludes that the Capture by Unit of Effort (CPUE), indicator used to estimate population densities of sea cucumber, is inadequate because divers search extensive areas when capturing this species, thus “compensating” its low density. CPUE values could stay misleadingly low until there are practically no more animals left.
Outcome 2: Establishment of a biological monitoring system

  1. Key indicators for the monitoring system fully defined and tested by the end of year 1, with a brief summary of recent available data for each.

The CDF had difficulties in producing a definition of indicators but at the end of the second year of the project elaborated a five-year plan for the ecological monitoring of the Archipelago. This delay, as some senior scientists admitted, was related to the weakness of CDF regarding monitoring activities. The plan was an accomplishment that strengthened and focused their monitoring efforts.

The primary goal of the plan is the preservation of the biological diversity of the Galapagos archipelago in its natural state. Secondary goals are to evaluate changes in the biological diversity and to respond appropriately to them. The plan includes a detailed list of key vertebrate, vegetal and invertebrate species.

  1. From Year 2 onwards, annual summaries of (a) the flora and fauna of a small sample of the 102 smaller islands; (b) new colonizations of at least 2 of the 6 most pristine larger islands; (c) new introductions and major changes in distribution of a selection of the most invasive or harmful introduced species on at least 2 of the remaining 8 large islands.

Although databases for the storage of data exist, this project did not anticipate the need to implement databases for the register of monitoring activities. Thus, the CDF had difficulties when trying to link the results of monitoring to the extensive list of activities that they agreed to execute for this project and for this specific Expected Impact. Most reports of monitoring activities still follow the anecdotal format of classic “Trip Reports”.

Monitoring efforts during the three years of the project successfully detected a variety of changes at different temporal scales. Two introductions of goats (Santa Fe and Marchena islands) were discovered early and the founding populations easily eradicated. Populations of alien species of frogs that became established in Galápagos during the 1997 – 1998 El Niño increased dramatically on Isabela (Puerto Villamil) in 2001, while they apparently declined on San Cristóbal and Santa Cruz. A rapid response prevented their spread on Isabela, but efforts to eradicate them were unsuccessful.
Monitoring activities also documented more “favorable” changes in some populations of alien species. Smooth-billed anis (Crotophaga ani) invaded Fernandina and Genovesa, two relatively pristine islands during the 1997 – 1998 El Niño. By 2001 both of these new populations of anis appeared extinct. Fire ants (Wasmannia auropunctata) were detected for the first time on several small islands (Champion, Albany and Cousins); an eradication program will be initiated in 2002.
Recent baseline surveys of poorly monitored areas revealed several species that were previously unrecorded in the archipelago: 130 alien plant species in the agricultural zone, bringing the total to over 600 and the number of alien insects recorded has increased from 292 to 327. This baseline data permitted the detection the recent invasion of species such as the highly aggressive tomato borer (Neoleucinodes elegantalis). An emergency program was initiated to prevent its establishment. In addition to detecting alien species, surveys on uninhabited islands found at least 20 native insect species new to science and many new island records.

  1. From Year 2 onwards, annual summaries of the status of selected populations of key endemic species.

Monitoring activities within the 1999 to 2001 interval included populations of repatriated tortoises (Geochelone spp.), land iguanas (Conolophus subcristatus), and two species of critically endangered plant (Scalesia atractyloides and Linum cratericola). Most monitoring of repatriated tortoises was carried out on Española. Geographical information system (GIS) based analysis of data, collected with Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers, confirmed that repatriated tortoises disperse very slowly and that roughly 70% of the island provides preferred habitat, but less than 10% of that is occupied by tortoises. The first offspring of repatriated tortoises was also found, confirming successful reproduction.

Monitoring of repatriated land iguanas concentrated on the populations of Isla Baltra, Cartago Bay (Isabela), and Cerro Dragon (Santa Cruz) (Salazar 2001). The restored populations of Cartago Bay and Cerro Dragon are increasing due to in situ reproduction, but the population of Baltra appears to be declining in spite of successful in situ reproduction. Vehicle-induced mortality of adult iguanas on Baltra seems to be the primary cause of the decline.
Monitoring of the Scalesia and Linum took place monthly, at all known populations, in order to investigate reproductive biology and population dynamics. Although the total population of adult S. atractyloides, on Santiago Island, appears to be stable, recruitment is variable and low, probably as a result of depredations by goats. The only known population of L. cratericola, on Floreana, was found to undergo marked fluctuations, even within the 2-year initial study period, for as yet unknown reasons. The establishment of a monitoring program of Lepidoptera along an altitudinal gradient in Santa Cruz has permitted us to study their phenology and patterns of distribution, many of which can be used as bio-indicators. This program has revealed the recent arrival by natural means of two species.
An evaluation of the threat status of all the endemic plant taxa was finished after 3.5 years' work. It allowed the identification of the most threatened species, and of those for which more survey and monitoring work is needed. This provides a basis for planning future monitoring activities and conservation action for threatened plant species.

  1. Data compiled on possible causative factors of the trends observed.

Clearly the short time frame of this project, three years, is insufficient to draw definitive conclusions about the existence of trends in the terrestrial biodiversity, and about the possible causes of detected variations. It would have been more realistic to predefine possible causative factors of already detected trends (e.g. the El Niño phenomenon, fisheries, tourism, transportation, agriculture, roads, etc.) and clearly specify which of them would be followed up during the execution of this project.

The longest running monitoring program in Galapagos (water and air temperature and rain levels) confirmed that a global trend towards more frequent and possibly more intense El Niño events is also occurring in the Galapagos. This phenomenon bears influence over a wide range of plants and animals, both at land and at sea. The clearest correlations have been reported in the Galapagos Reports and other publications. The CDF affirms that human activity in the Galapagos marine environment could affect the fluctuations in populations caused by the El Niño events but draws no definitive conclusions about this.
Other changes detected were easily linked to human intervention, like the new introductions of goats to Marchena and the increase in the number of introduced species.

  1. GIS and database systems set up and operational for storage and analysis of monitoring data.

The ability of CDF to produce and manage data increased greatly during the last three years, largely due to the development of a GIS and cost-effective GPS data recording. However, several of the changes detected stemmed from serendipitous or opportunistic monitoring activities rather than the results of systematic, replicated surveys.

  1. Summary reports of the monitoring results and their correlation with possible causative factors, plus complementary scientific publications.

Summary reports describing the situation of endemic flora and introduced mammals were timely delivered and published in the Galapagos Reports. However, the CDF had delays and difficulties to deliver other reports about the execution of the extensive list of activities for this project. The evaluation mission of the Bank, carried out in march, 2000, was very helpful in explaining the CDF about the importance of delivering the products as stated in the agreement. The reports are largely anecdotal and they still don’t establish a clear link between the activity as defined in the agreement, and the actual activity reported.

Scientific articles and technical reports based on the monitoring activities were produced for a variety of scientific journals, the PMG, the IMA, other authorities and donors.
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