Last night I attended a conference on the Yasuní ITT initiative.
Here's a brief summary of what this is about.
The project is still under discussion. The previous German government announced its support but the current German secretary of developement is against this project. There are a lot of supporters in the international community (it had a favorable hearing at the United Nations) but also a lot of enemies, and not only from Big Oil. The Ecuadorian government is shaky about this and will need a nudge from the international community (i.e. the public sphere in North America, Europe and other industrial nations)Yasuni-ITT Initiative is a proposal by the government of Ecuador to refrain indefinitely from exploiting the oil reserves of the Ishpingo-Tambococha-Tiputini (ITT) oil field within the Yasuni National Park, in exchange for 50% of the value of the reserves, or $3.6 billion over 13 years from the international community. Various economic rationales converge on roughly the same payment. The reserve has around 846 million barrels, or 20% of the countries proven oil reserve. The rationale is to conserve biodiversity, protect indigenous peoples living in voluntary isolation, and avoid CO2 emissions. The Yasuni-ITT Trust Fund was officially launched on 3 August 2010. It will be administered by the Multi-Donor Trust Fund of the UNDP. The government needs to receive the first $100 million by the end of 2011 for the proposal to be carried out further.
Assuming we are all familiar with the damages oil exploitation has caused in the Amazonas (severe ecological damage, at leats two indiginous people have been completely exterminated, not exploiting the ITT oil would save 410 million tons of CO2 emmisions, the area has the world's highest biodiversity and portentially contains a lot of unknown medical herbs and an extensive genetic treasure chest, also functions as a green lung, etc) and leaving aside for a moment what you think of the current Ecuadorian government of Rafael Correa and its trustworthiness and that the country urgendly needs some money in one form or another....
... what do you think of the underlying idea that natural ressources like the Amazonian rainforest affect the whole world and are therefor the responsibility of the entire humanity? The idea is that Ecuador would safeguard this global ressource for and in the name of the rest of the world and the international community would in exchange support Ecuador for this protection by paying it not to exploit the oil. This assumes a whole new dimension of global solidarity, co-responsibility and interaction though the principle is in fact somewhat similar to emission trading.
Great idea? Stupid idea? International communist conspiracy?