Putting social and environmental values before profit, the Ecuadorian government set up the Yasuni Ishpingo Tambococha Tiputini (ITT) Trust Fund to protect one of the world’s most valuable and diverse biological reserves by promising to keep oil permanently underground.
In an unprecedented move, the Ecuadorian government has agreed to prevent 846 million barrels of oil from being extracted from the Ishpingo Tambococha Tiputini (ITT) oil field located in Yasuni National Park. In doing so, the government will avoid emitting 407 metric tons of CO2, protect one of the most bio-diverse reserves in the world and maintain the livelihoods of the region’s indigenous population.
With 60% of Ecuador’s GNP currently based on its oil economy, this unique initiative can significantly steer Ecuador’s economy away from oil dependency towards more productive and sustainable economic activities.
In establishing the Yasuni ITT Fund, Ecuador has become “the first developing country to propose an effective, quantifiable and verifiable carbon abatement model.” Through its example, Ecuador has set a historic precedent that forces other oil-rich countries to reconsider the environmental, social and economic consequences of their oil dependency.
How does it work? To offset the country’s loss in oil revenue—approximately USD$7.2 billion—the Ecuadorian government, in partnership with the UNDP, is inviting the international community to compensate half of its lost revenue (about USD$3.6 billion dollars over a 13-year period) through online donations, cooperation agencies’ investments, government agreements and debt relief. These resources, in turn, will help the country fund its environmentally friendly, socially-inclusive renewable energy initiatives.
The Yasuni ITT Fund represents a collaborative effort between the developed and developing world to address climate change and promote sustainable global development.
Read more or watch the Yasuni ITT documentary below.