16 Aug 2013:
Ecuador Abandons Moratorium
On Oil Drilling in Biodiverse Yasuni Park
The Ecuadorian government has abandoned its moratorium on oil drilling in Yasuni National Park
as a proposal to protect the park with the help of international donations fell apart. In a nationally televised speech, President Rafael Correa blamed the failure of the ambitious conservation plan on a lack of funds, saying that a UN-administered trust fund had raised only $13 million of the $3.6 billion target. “I have signed the executive decree for the liquidation of the Yasuni-ITT trust fund and with this, ended the initiative,” said Correa. Located in eastern Ecuador, where the Amazon basin ascends into the Andes, Yasuni is home to an unprecedented number of animal and plant species
. According to a 2010 study
, one section of the park held at least 200 species of mammals, 247 amphibian and reptile species, and 550 species of birds. But the Yasuni park also sits atop an estimated 1 billion barrels of oil. Correa had said that Ecuador would forego income from oil drilling and protect the park if foreign donors would contribute billions of dollars to compensate the country for the loss of oil revenue.