Ines Manzano: Important and Urgent (Editorial)

It’s time.  If the environment is a priority, you will find a way.  If not, you will find an excuse.

Ines Manzano
Updated 04/16/2021 10:28 PM

The return of proposals supporting the use of palangre in the Galápagos are among the important and urgent concerns faced by the next administration (see point number 2 below)

Dwight Eisenhower said that “What is important is rarely urgent, and what is urgent is rarely important.”  Something important is based upon interest, convenience or the scope of [the issue’s] effects.  The urgent is recognized by the urgency that is implied or the need to address the issue.

This [sentiment] gave rise to the Eisenhower Fund in order to be able to decide – constantly and with productivity – where to prioritize. For example, having the best staff is important, because it contributes to their mission, values and long-term goals.  Using his method you end up either doing, deciding, delegating or eliminating.

Knowing the difference [between urgency and importance] can determine the success of a public administration.

This new government will require the capacity to deal with what is urgent and important at the same time, in the area of sustainability. For example:

1) In June, Chinese flagged vessels will be bordering the exclusive economic zone and the Galapagos Marine Reserve.  The financing of the Galapagos National Park at $22 million dollars a year has not been fulfilled, in part because 50% of this budget is dependent on the entrance fees of national or foreign tourists, as per the Organic Law of the Special Regime of Galapagos. With the absence of tourists during the pandemic, there is then no way to achieve surveillance and control [with a more limited budget].

2) Currently, in Galapagos, a proposal for the introduction of the longline has been produced – a fishing gear banned since 2006, which has a high rate of capture of protected marine species which are caught [as bycatch] on its hooks.  This technique has been introduced as a “study” since 2012, under the name of “oceanic tie.”  The study continues in the sight of, and acceptance by, all authorities. By the time the tourists return, let’s hope we won’t have to embalm these [protected] species so that tourists can see what they were like.

3) Dams [and reservoirs].  There are more than 11,000 procedures for: the adjudication and / or reversal of water concessions and appointments of irrigation boards; there are a similar number of needed proceedings related to environmental registries, audits and licenses, in addition to constitution resolutions for environmental NGOs, though they have legal outlets for them to be dispatched.

4) There are hundreds of demands related to administrative silence; that is, for not receiving an answer within the time established by law (30 days). Additionally, the environmental authority usually does not appear at the hearing, leaving the demands dead before a State Attorney General’s Office without arguments or defense.

5) Expansion of the Galapagos Marine Reserve.  What will give us more income?  Fishing?  Conservation?  Both of them?  How must we treat conservation?

6) Unnecessary garbage and waste.  Moreover, there is chronic and acute malnutrition in children.  Will a circular economy be the solution, in design and materials?

7) An obfuscated image of a megadiverse country – without appropriate education, without weighting of ancestral knowledge – which timidly presents itself to international conventions where it does not contribute, does not shine, does not stand out.

And I could go on, because I see daily how authority and natural resources degrade.  The problem is that everything described is just a simple example of how a government pays attention and attacks private companies, citizens, sustainable development and international solidarity.  It’s time.  If the environment is a priority, you will find a way.  If not, you will find an excuse.

Read the original opinion column from Expreso EC at

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