|This road in Puerto Ayora leads to the Charles Darwin Foundation|
Running an independent scientific research station in a remote place like Galapagos, now costs upward of $3 million annually. 50% of our annual budget comes from successful funding proposals, supported by international donors. However, indirect costs such as preserving our world famous collections and running our research station account for 50% of our annual budget. The increasing difficulty in funding for ongoing indirect costs, could bring CDF to breaking point very soon.
The General Assembly saw strong participation and support from a large number of Government entities: Galapagos National Park Directorate, Ministry of Environment, Technical Secretariat for International Cooperation (SETECI), Ministry for Foreign Relations, Provincial Government of Galapagos, Ministry of Agriculture.
At the meeting, it was agreed that the CDF is to form a work group with several governmental entities working towards 2016, which is the year that the current contract between CDF and the Government needs to be reviewed. This committee will then start a dialogue to strengthen the longer-term cooperation between the CDF and the government, and to strategically secure the operation of the research station.
The Foundation has been identified by the Government as essential for Ecuador. There is a need and a desire to further strengthen the collaboration between the CDF and the Government, e.g. with regards to proposing major initiatives to international funding sources; and linking Ecuadorian research initiatives.
The Director of the Park made the following statement: “We need the Foundation. We need the link to the scientific community that provides us with first class scientific advice. We thank you for that.”
The Board of the CDF is in permanent dialogue with the Municipality of Santa Cruz to find a mutually beneficial solution for the souvenir store of the CDRS.
The General Assembly reconfirmed that the Charles Darwin Research Station has to remain open and in operation. The focus of the Board, the Executive Director and the entire team is to find a solution for the short-term financial difficulties. Today's General Assembly did not bring an immediate solution to these problems, but progress was made towards carrying out successful fundraising activities in the very foreseeable future.