Graphic design
Interactive media
Strategic communication

Carlos Pi  •  About me  •    CV   •


Promotional and educational campaign
for the Galapagos National Park Service
new Management Plan

Galapagos, 2006/07

The official document which sets out the Galapagos National Park Service's priorities and actions is referred to as its Management Plan. Its 2005 edition was a landmark in several respects.[1]

Firstly, it was the first such document developed without the exclusive assistance from the Charles Darwin Foundation, but a wider international team of experts through a process supported by Araucaria XXI, the Spanish government aid project which I would work for from 2006 to 2009.

Its biggest difference with previous versions however, was not the process that led to its creation, but its founding ideas. For the first time, the human element is introduced as key for the attainment of conservation goals in Galapagos.

Joaquín Carrasco, anthropologist and previous Head of Communications for Araucaria XXI, whom I worked with in the campaign.

This is very significant.

The original idea behind the creation of the first National Parks around the world was that humans should be completely kept away from natural protected areas, since it was us who created the problems in the first place.

Gradually, and after decades of antagonism between conservation institutions (most of which supported by rich countries) and communities local to the protected areas (many of which in poorer countries), there came the realisation that there can be legitimate claims by local communities for a sustainable use of protected natural resources, and that in such cases the appropriation of conservation values and indeed actions by those local communities is essential to avoid further degradation of the natural environment.

The new Management Plan of the Galapagos National Park Service is based around such new realisations, putting forward a vision for the future of the archipelago in which local communities are the custodians of their own natural environment, on which their own development depends.

This document positions the National Park Service as the foremost exponent of this shared vision, defines the basic objectives of the institution and presents a series of priorities and actions to work towards those objectives.

The new Management Plan was the starting point of a series of institutional changes, from a different conception of what it work should be through to a different organic structure altogether. I was to work in the implementation of these changes throughout my three years at the National Park Service.

By 2006, the document had been approved and published and a promotional and educational campaign could finally take place, first among the park rangers themselves, then among the wider public.

The view that humans should be an intrinsic part of conservation efforts may sound reasonable enough, but it is important to say that it is not without a fair amount of controversy, for it is not clear in practice what "sustainable development" is meant to be.

Those who argue that it is an excuse to continue "development as usual" and those who argue that it is a way to extend repressive conservation measures on society might both have good reasons to believe so.

Be that as it may, I personally consider it a step forward for the conservation movement to expand and diversify to include anthropology, sociology, economics, etc. to investigate the reasons behind our behaviour as a species, for it is this knowledge that may lead to a change in those beliefs and customs that have set us against our own living environment.

I designed a series of documents specifically to manage the campaign.

The new ideas were divided in different levels of relevance or complexity and assigned to the target audiences we had identified.

Up until the campaign, the local communities had hardly featured in any conservation communication material.

We carried out the first photoshoot of its kind in Galapagos, trying to show a positive relationship between local inhabitants and their natural environment.

These images were to illustrate the new ideas of the National Park's Management Plan.

It was flattering for me to see the Charles Darwin Foundation share the same resources to include the local community in its Annual Report front cover for the first time.

As part of the campaign, internal workshops were carried out in all inhabited islands that included all park rangers.

Our colleague Tania Villegas (later appointed as special Galapagos advisor to the Environment Minister) was in charge of these workshops.

As support material for the campaign, I produced a "Miniplan", which communicates the basic ideas behind the original document to a more general, local public.

Illustration was by Roger Ycaza, excellent illustrator and musician from Ecuadorian group Mamá Vudú.

The complete Miniplan can be seen at the Galapagos National Park Service website (in Spanish).


[1] You can see the complete Management Plan at the Galapagos National Park website (in Spanish).