I have officially completed one week of my internship here in Ecuador and am starting on my second week today, Monday the 4th of July. While in spirit celebrating this fine holiday, hoping to find some “American food” for lunch if nothing else, I am spending the day in an office. I am working for the International Union for the Conservation of Nature in their South American office in Quito, Ecuador.
The IUCN, “supports scientific research, manages field projects all over the world and brings governments, non-government organizations, United Nations agencies, companies and local communities together to develop and implement policy, laws and best practice.” My purpose here is to help assemble a database of Marine Protected Areas (MPA) for the entire continent. The idea is to have a baseline of management practices and total area of MPAs, among other pieces of information that will paint a picture of the current status and serve as a baseline. Ideally, this well help countries identify gaps and motivate them to meet their commitments to the Convention on Biological Diversity 2020 target of having 10% of all marine and coastal ecoregions as protected areas, In South America, there exists currently only about 1% of coverage for each country. This research can be difficult and some of the information I would like to find simply doesn’t seem to exist, such as quantification of some advancement indicators for the MPAs such as amount of fishing reduction or increase in tourism. Nevertheless I am motivated that there seems to be a lot of momentum and appreciation for the need to protecte and sustainably use the oceans here on this continent. I hope to make a positive contribution to this effort.
Attached are two pictures from the office.