The Yasuni-ITT Initiative
Ecuador is one of the most biologically diverse countries in the world, and is also noted for the richness and variety of its indigenous cultures. In 1972 the country became an petroleum exporter and since then, this product has been the centerpiece of the national economy. The environmental and social impacts of the petroleum industry, however, have been dramatic.
Large deposits of heavy crude have been recently confirmed in the ITT (Ishpingo-Tambococha-Tiputini) field, located in the Yasuni National Park, which is one of the most important and diverse biological reserves in the world. President Rafael Correa announced to the United Nations that Ecuador has decided to maintain the crude oil in the ITT field indefinitely underground if the international community contributes with at least half of the revenue that the State would receive by extracting the petroleum. Furthermore, the State would initially assume up to half of the opportunity cost of keeping the oil in the ground. This will support the country not only to develop sustainably, but also to prioritize social and environmental values.
This initiative proposes:
Ecuador commits to indefinitely refrain from extracting the 846 million barrels of oil reserves in the ITT field, within the Yasuni National Park. The international community helps by providing a financial contribution, creating a capital fund to be administered by an international trust, with the participation of the government, Ecuadorian civil society and donors.
The fund’s capital, under UN supervision, will be invested in renewable energy projects in Ecuador, taking advantage of the country’s vast hydroelectric, geothermal, wind and solar potential, in order to overcome its current dependence on fossil fuels. Interests will not only be invested in social development of the country, but also to avoid deforestation and increase forestation project.