UNDP, Ecuador protect biodiversity and promote development

16 Dec 2009

Copenhagen - UNDP Administrator Helen Clark joined Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Fander Falconi, and Minister of Natural and Cultural Heritage Marie Ferdinand Espinosa today in Copenhagen to announce an initiative to protect Ecuador’s rich biodiversity by leaving 850 million barrels of oil in the ground.

By leaving one of the world’s largest oil reserves – located in Ecuador’s protected Yasuni National Park – untouched, Ecuador will prevent 407 million tonnes of CO2 from being released. To offset the lost revenue, Ecuador has set up a multi-donor trust fund which will be administered by UNDP. All contributions to the Yasuni Trust Fund will be used for renewable energy projects and low carbon development in Ecuador.

Yasuni National Park is one of the most important and diverse biological reserves in the world, designated by UNESCO as a “Biosphere Reserve.” It is also home to indigenous peoples living in voluntary isolation. Ecaudor’s President, Rafael Correa, announced at the UN General Assembly this year that Ecuador would permanently maintain its crude oil, estimated at one billion barrels of heavy crude reserves underground, to put social and environmental values first, thereby preventing the emission of CO2.

UNDP has a long and close partnership with Ecuador, and continues to substantively support Ecuador’s social development, sustainable use of natural resources, and capacity development. Ecuador’s selection of UNDP to administer the fund is based on UNDP’s record of efficient, transparent and accountable administration of over 30 multi donor trust funds in over 70 countries. The Yasuni Trust Fund will exclusively focus on:

  • reducing carbon emissions by permanently foregoing extraction of fossil fuels;
  • developing alternative energy;
  • protecting indigenous groups and;
  • reducing poverty and inequality through sustainable social development.