Written by Elisa Pelliciari
On Monday 20th May 2013, Grassroot Diplomat was invited to the opening reception of the photo exhibition, “The Eye of the Amazon” by Her Excellency Ms Ana Alban Moran of the Embassy of Ecuador. This exhibition promotes the Yasuni's Amazonian forest, a 982,000 hectare National Park characterised by extreme biodiversity.
During the talk, Ivonne Baki, Secretary of State for the Yasuní-ITT Initiative, and Ambassador Ana Alban Mora explained the initiative and the importance of protecting Yasuni National Park. The focus was specifically placed on the stakes of this territory, which is one of the most biodiverse locations in the world and known to be a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve since 1989. It is also home to two of the last indigenous community living in voluntary isolation, namely the Tagaeri and Taromenane.
When large reserves of oil were discovered under Yasuní National Park, the Ecuadorian government promised to leave fossil fuel in the soil, in exchange for international financial support for environmental development projects. To extract oil in large-scale would cause devastating environmental impacts including contamination, deforestation, extinction of cultures and destruction of social structures.
As part of Ecuador’s national commitment, the Yasuní-ITT initiative was born to address the problems of conserving biodiversity and respecting the indigenous community, and it aspires to reduce poverty and inequality in the country. The initiative also includes a stream of funding for social investment.
In addition to being supported by the United Nations Secretary-General and administered by the United Nations Development Programme, Yasuní is supported by leading environmentalists, scientists, Nobel Laureates, world leaders, and celebrities from around the world.
Grassroot Diplomat commends the government of Ecuador in recognising the importance of preserving indigenous culture, the environment and its heritage over financial wealth in oil reserves and energy, and supports the Yasuní-ITT initiative to its fullest degree.