Ecuador’s innovative proposal for not developing its Yasuní-Ishpingo
Tambococha Tiputini (Yasuní-ITT) oil fields presents an alternative
strategy for resolving the conservation versus extractive industry
development dilemma. Ecuador proposed the creation of a global fund to
finance sustainable development activities in the country in exchange
for indefinitely refraining from extracting the Yasuní oil deposits. In
the spirit of co-responsibility, Ecuador asked the rest of the world to
contribute up to 50% of the income it would forgo by choosing
conservation. The initiative has been launched and is underway, though
not without some controversy. This case study describes this innovative
proposal and its relevance to current extractive industries and land use
concerns, and finally, discusses some interesting questions for debate
that the case raises.
* Because land expropriation is no longer seen as a viable option,
government-driven processes to establish collective or individual land
rights in rural areas are a crucial first step for ultimately securing
social licence. From there, Latin America shows a variety of social
licence strategies that are working, reducing conflict and bringing
long-term stability to extractive projects.
* When states and responsible corporations develop compensatory
mechanisms to address land degradation and social and environmental
impacts, reliable, long-term access to resources is more likely.
* While land remediation is often enforced in extractive industry
regulations, giving back land freely to its former owners or local
communities is a socially responsible corporate practice that can help
to improve the image of a company, and the extractive industry sector in
ELLA. ELLA Policy Brief: Ecuador&#8217;s Yasuní&#8211;ITT: Rethinking the Conservation vs. Extraction Dilemma. ELLA, Practical Action Consulting, Lima, Peru (2012) 5 pp.