International Civic Campaign to Rally Millions of Global Supporters for Ecuador Yasuni-ITT Initiative

19 Nov 2011
International Civic Campaign to Rally Millions of Global Supporters for Ecuador Yasuni-ITT Initiative

With less than two months remaining to reach its year-end fundraising goal, the Yasuni-ITT campaign is launching a global civic engagement campaign with major events on November 20th to raise awareness of Ecuador's Yasuni-ITT plan. The campaign will allow individuals in Ecuador and around the globe to contribute to the initiative to keep underground nearly 1 billion barrels of oil located in the most biodiverse section of rainforest in the world.

"There is widespread international support for the Yasuni-ITT initiative, from individuals and private enterprises to regional and national legislative bodies," said Ivonne Baki, Plenipotentiary Representative of Ecuador to the Yasuni-ITT Initiative. She added, "It's inspiring to see interest in the effort, not to mention contributions, coming from all over the world. People everywhere care about this effort."

The Yasuni-ITT Initiative is a novel environmental campaign, supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions, creating a renewable energy economy, and protecting the animal, plant, and human life found in one of the world's most biodiverse places. The initiative has already announced more than $55 million in contributions from public and private donors around the world, including from places as diverse as Spain, Italy, Poland, Australia, India, Turkey, and South Africa.

Ecuador's Yasuni-ITT Commission has organized a launch event which will be held at the Ecuadorian Cultural House in Quito, on November 20th from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. (09h00-19h00). Featuring a slew of prominent Ecuadorian entertainers performing throughout the day, a fundraising drive, circus routines, a family fun area, and a cultural fair, the day-long televised event will bring together the whole of Ecuador to show the country's support for Yasuni. In addition, to leverage the international support of the Yasuni-ITT plan, a similar, smaller event will be held in London on the same day. Upcoming events are also being planned in cities such as New York, Milan, and Madrid to rally those deeply concerned with the environmental and ecological challenges facing the entire planet.

"I really hope people with the means to support Yasuni come together for this project," remarked Bo Derek, who is Goodwill Ambassador to the Yasuni-ITT Initiative, appointed by President Rafael Correa. "Ecuador has some of the loveliest forest and wildlife I've ever seen, and if the world loses this last remaining Garden of Eden on earth, it will be gone forever."

 The Yasuni-ITT Initiative is a commitment by Ecuador to keep nearly 850 million barrels of oil underground in the Ishpingo-Tambococha-Tiputini oil fields, prevent deforestation, and protect both wildlife and indigenous peoples living in the Amazon Rainforest's Yasuni National Park, which leading experts agree is the world's most biodiverse area. The effort seeks to channel global support to save this unique piece of land that Nobel Prize-winning scientists say could hold the key to untold medical and scientific discoveries.

Put forth by the Government of Ecuador and officially supported by the United Nations, Nobel Laureates, organizations such as Earth Day Network, and celebrities such as Ms. Derek, the Yasuni-ITT Initiative hopes to raise a total of $100 million by the end of 2011, and about $3.6 billion over 13 years.

In a country where a third of the population lives beneath the poverty line and oil easily accounts for a majority of export revenue, the more than $10 billion worth of oil under the Yasuni-ITT block represents a financial lifeline for the developing nation. The people and government of Ecuador, however, prefer not to drill. Agreeing with the plan not to drill and partnering with Ecuador in 2010, UNDP established the Ecuador Yasuni ITT Trust Fund for receipt of contributions from Yasuni supporters world-wide.  

 The raised funds will go towards investment in alternative energy, the objective being a complete overhaul of the country's energy matrix away from oil dependence. Funds will also go towards social programs in Ecuador and building infrastructure such as hospitals and schools.

Drilling for the oil in Yasuni would cause untold damage to the environment and the myriad species of life found there. It would release over 400 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere, significantly contributing to global warming. The associated deforestation and oil infrastructure alone would contribute another staggering 800 million metric tons of carbon emissions.

Meeting the fundraising goal of $100 million by the end of the year will help indicate whether or not the project is viable and if the international community is vested enough in preserving this as-of-yet untouched ecosystem.

Visit www.Yasunizate.org for more information about the November 20th event and www.Yasunisupport.org to contribute to the Yasuni-ITT Trust Fund.

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