Ecuador has abandoned a conservation plan that would have paid the country not to drill for oil in previously untouched parts of Yasuni National Park in the Amazon rainforest.

President Rafael Correa said rich nations had failed to back the initiative, leaving Ecuador with no choice but go ahead with drilling.

The park is one of the most biodiverse areas in the world.

Hundreds of people gathered in Quito to protest against Mr Correa’s decision.

Oil exploitation has been taking place in parts of the Yasuni National Park, which covers nearly 10,000 sq km (3,860 sq miles), since the 1970s.

Map

Oil is Ecuador’s main export. Exploitation of the new area is expected to start in the coming weeks.

 

‘World failed us’

“It was not charity that we sought from the international community, but co-responsibility in the face of climate change” – Rafael Correa Ecuador’s president.

 

The aim was to raise $3.6bn (£2.3bn), 50% of the value of the reserves in the park’s Ishpingo-Tambococha-Tiputini (ITT) oil field, over 13 years.

But in a televised news conference on Thursday, Mr Correa said the initiative had attracted only a fraction of the cash it had aimed to raise.

With only $13m so far in actual donations, he said he had not other option but to abandon the fund as “the world has failed us”.

“I have signed the executive decree for the liquidation of the Yasuni-ITT trust fund and through it, end the initiative,” the president said in a televised address.

He called the decision one of the most difficult he had had to take as president.

“It was not charity that we sought from the international community, but co-responsibility in the face of climate change,” he said.

The president added that the oil exploration would leave most of the park untouched, affecting less that 1% of its area.

Environmental activists demonstrated outside the presidential palace in the capital, Quito, about the announcement.

According to the Yasuni-ITT trust fund, 78% of Ecuadorian are against drilling in the park, which is also home to indigenous communities, including the Tagaeri and the Taromenane.

The fund, administered by the UN Development Programme, argues that stopping the drilling would prevent more than 400 million tonnes of carbon dioxide from going into the atmosphere.

A scientist working for the US-based Center for International Environmental Law said it was “deeply disappointing” the funding initiative had failed.

“The Yasuni-ITT Initiative was the lone exception to the relentless expansion of hydrocarbon projects deeper into the most remote tracts of the western Amazon,” Matt Finer told AP.

“Now there is really no viable alternative to stop the wave of drilling slated for the most biodiverse region of the world.”

 

Yasuni National Park

  • Measuring 10,000 sq km (4,000 sq miles), it supports a huge variety of wildlife, including unique species of birds, monkeys and amphibians
  • One hectare in Yasuni contains more tree species than are native to all of North America
  • Yasuni oilfields hold an estimated 846 million barrels of crude, 20% of Ecuador’s reserves
  • Home to indigenous communities, including the Tagaeri and the Taromenane

 

Statement by the Federation of the Green Parties of the Americas

Comunicado Oficial.

En vista de los últimos anuncios del gobierno de Ecuador en relación al cese de proyecto de conservación del parque Yasuni, que será afectado por vía de explotación petrolera, desde La Federación de los Partidos Verdes de las Américas  queremos hacer llegar nuestra elevada preocupación y protesta por dicha decisión, considerando que esta espada de Damocles es la que ahora cae sobre Correa, puesto que todo aquello que se dijo sobre las bondades de conservar el Yasuní, le juega en contra con el gran paso atrás dado.

Es cierto que la responsabilidad primaria del cambio climático es de los países desarrollados. Sin embargo, seguir apostando al mismo modelo para “superar la pobreza” no da esperanzas de que surjan nuevos vientos del sur. En este sentido, la injusticia internacional no puede justificar que se avance sobre territorio de pueblos originarios que se mantienen en aislamiento voluntario, fuera del mundo auto-destructivo. En ese sentido, este sueño terminó por convertirse en una pesadilla.

La iniciativa Yasuní-ITT comprendía un proyecto para frenar la explotación y exploración petrolera de una zona de la Amazonía ecuatoriana, específicamente en un sector del Parque Nacional Yasuní, ubicado entre los cuadrantes de exploración petrolera Ishpingo, Tiputini y Tambococha. Sin embargo, El entusiasmo de la sociedad civil contrasta con la temporal apatía de los gobiernos de los países más ricos. La crisis en Europa, la difícil situación económica en Estados Unidos y la inestabilidad política en el mundo árabe han frenado los compromisos de los estados para apoyar financieramente la propuesta Yasuní ITT. 

En dicho aspecto vale destacar que en cualquier caso, la decisión del gobierno ecuatoriano en torno del proyecto Yasuní-ITT ha generado una intensa discusión en Ecuador, país con una enorme biodiversidad y con una Constitución “verde” resaltada por autoridades y ambientalistas, resaltando los sondeos que en junio de 2013 para un 93% de la población ecuatoriana en Quito y Guayaquil estaba de acuerdo con la iniciativa Yasuní-ITT y un 66% no apoyaba la explotación en caso de que no recaudase suficientes fondos. Por tal motivo desde  la Federación de Partidos Verdes de América y la Global Greens lamentamos el comienzo de la extracción de petróleo en el Parque Nacional Yasuní y considera que la responsabilidad sobre lo que pase en la reserva de biosfera Yasuní es responsabilidad del gobierno ecuatoriano.

08/26/2013 – 17:29

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