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Cablegate: Unesco Representative Recommends a Technical

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.



E.O. 12958: N/A

1. Summary. The Director of UNESCO,s World Heritage Center,
Francesco Bandarin, visited Ecuador to evaluate a new
potential world heritage site (The Incan Andean Road) and
assess the Galapagos World Heritage Site (WHS), in light of
faltering conservation efforts under the Gutierrez
administration. At a roundtable discussion with donors and
other players, he stated that he would recommend to the World
Heritage Committee (WHC) that a technical evaluation of the
Galapagos be performed. This could lead to Galapagos being
listed as an endangered heritage site. Ecuador sought to
play down the visit, claiming that Bandarin came per
invitation of the GOE. Bandarin, however, made it clear that
there is real international concern about the state of
conservation in the Galapagos. His trip garnered good press
coverage (despite the ongoing political crisis) and delivered
a strong and direct message to the GOE. End Summary.

UNESCO Comes To Town

2. Francesco Bandarin, Director of UNESCO,s World Heritage
Center and Chair of its Scientific Committee, spent nearly a
week in Ecuador to evaluate adding the Incan Andean Road to
the list of World Heritage Sites and to assess the Galapagos
(the first ever WHS) in light of faltering conservation
efforts over the last few years. He spent most of his time,
however, addressing the Galapagos issue and discussed it with
President Gutierrez, the Ambassador, the donor community, and
many stakeholders in the Galapagos.

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3. The donor community and the Ambassador presented a
unified and consistent message to Bandarin, the one we have
been presenting the last several months, stressing the three
main problems in the Galapagos - park stability, alternatives
for fishermen, and illegal immigration. The donors also
provided concrete recommendations for addressing them,
including formalizing the independent process for picking GNP
Directors. Bandarin, in turn, carried the message (along
with the recommendations) to his Ecuadorian interlocutors.

4. Bandarin,s concern for the Galapagos was very clear from
the beginning. Before even visiting the islands, and during
his meeting with the donor community, he announced that he
would recommend a technical audit of the Galapagos at the
next World Heritage Committee meeting in Durban, South Africa
in July.

Good Press Coverage

5. Despite a serious political crisis, Bandarin,s visit
received ample press coverage that focused on conservation.
The GOE sought to downplay Bandarin,s visit, saying it had
invited him. But Bandarin, for his part, made it clear from
the beginning that this trip was mostly to assess Galapagos
for the WHC. (Note: At its 28th Committee meeting in China
last summer, the WHC requested that Ecuador submit a report
and plan for how it will conserve the Galapagos by February
1, 2005. Ecuador never did and this, we believe, spawned
Bandarin,s visit. End Note)


6. We are pleased with Bandarin,s visit. He carried the
international community,s concern and our consistent message
one more time to the GOE. He advocated our recommendations
and pressed President Gutierrez for immediate action. We
support his decision to recommend a technical assessment to
the WHC, as this (and its implicit threat of listing
Galapagos as an endangered WHS) will help focus the national
and international community on the Galapagos pro

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