Italy, Ecuador sign €35 million debt-swap for Yasuni
The governments of Ecuador and Italy and the United Nations Development Programme today signed a €35 million debt-swap agreement, through which Italy will contribute to the Yasuni-ITT Trust Fund, on the margins of the 67th United Nations General Assembly.
“This debt-swap funding will scale up the Yasuni Trust Fund, which aims to provide a comprehensive response to climate change issues, leaving the oil in the ground and avoiding the emission of 407 million tons of CO2,” said Dr. Maria Fernanda Espinosa, Coordinating Minister of Heritage of Ecuador and Chair of the Yasuni ITT Steering Committee.
The agreement was signed by Espinosa, Staffan de Mistura, Undersecretary of State of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Italy, and Bisrat Aklilu, Executive Coordinator of the UNDP Multi-Partner Trust Fund Office .
“Ecuador is an international example, and its people should be very proud of this initiative, which is illogical from a financial stand point, but has all the logic in the long term from the perspective of environmental protection,” said de Mistura. He praised Ecuador for adopting “this vision of the future" and said he “was grateful to be able to accompany Ecuador on this trip”.
“This partnership between UNDP and Ecuador on the Yasuni Trust Fund is a truly special one. For the UNDP MPTF Office, Yasuni Fund is not simply a Trust Fund, it is a realization of the new vision of collaboration with the national Governments. Based on the Yasuni Fund, the MPTF Office was able to develop a new National Climate Change Fund model, which is also currently being applied in other countries,” said Aklilu.
At the September 2011 High-Level Meeting co-hosted by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa Delgado, various Governments, organizations and individuals pledged financial contributions to Ecuador’s novel Yasuni Initiative. The Yasuní ITT Trust Fund has received support from Governments of Spain, Colombia, Chile, Georgia and Turkey; sub-national regions of Wallonia (Belgium), Rhone Alpes and Meurthe-et-Moselle (France); and private sector and foundations in USA, Japan, Russia, Turkey and Ecuador. In addition, through the “Donate to Yasuní,” online donation option, it received contributions from more than 500 individuals, including one person who donated her annual income. The Yasuní Initiative has also led to the establishment of Yasuní support groups in many countries and received strong support from the academic community, including Nobel Prize Laureates.
More information on Yasuní available at: http://mdtf.undp.org/yasuni or http://yasunisupport.org; http://yasuni-itt.gob.ec/