Magazine article New Internationalist

Yasuní in Peril

Magazine article New Internationalist

Yasuní in Peril

Article excerpt

Environmentalist and civil society groups are scrambling to protect the Ecuadorean Amazon from Big Oil after the government scrapped its ambitious Yasuní compensation plan.

Ecuador's 2007 Yasuní ITT initiative called for $3.6 billion from the international community - equal to 50 per cent of the value of the oil under Yasuní soil - in exchange for leaving the 850 barrels worth of crude in the ground.

But, after six years, with $300 million pledged and only $13 million deposited (around 0.3 per cent of the target sum), President Rafael Correa announced in August that drilling would now begin.

This was a major blow to campaigners - the New Internationalist among them - who backed the initiative as a pioneering alternative to the relentless pursuit of fossil fuels in the Amazon.

Civil society and indigenous organisations in Ecuador have marched in protest. Unconvinced by promises of 'responsible exploitation', they are attempting to collect half a million signatures (five per cent of the population) to prompt a national referendum on the issue. …

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