New Internationalist

Yasuní Green Gold - About the Campaign

For the comprehensive Q&A list please visit the Yasuni Green Gold campaign website

Yasuní Green Gold is an international campaign that New Internationalist is supporting. It was created with the support of the government of Orellana and local indigenous people, in the Yasuní region. It is not another charity, not an institution but an international network of people and organisations that believe that Yasuni is Green Gold and must be preserved. It aims to raise awareness and support for the the conservation of the park and protection of the local people of the Yasuní.

We think that Yasuni is unique and that believe that human life has no price. We believe that a solution for the Yasuni could become a model for other developing countries across the world, a way for countries to be able to preserve their cultural and environmental treasures without having to sacrifice economic development. And importantly it could lead to way in the fight against climate change.

What are the general aims of Yasuní Green Gold?

To act as a loudspeaker for the local people raising the volume of their voices and concerns to an international level. To refocus the attention from the oil under the Yasuní to the importance of its biological and cultural richness in order to allow for alternatives for the region such as ethical tourism.

To create an international network of people and organisations that support local efforts in the protection of the Yasuní.

To act in co-operation with other movements and people in order to be the most effective.

To support the development and implementation of local solutions for the sustainable development of the Yasuní region.

What is our position on the national proposal?

We want to encourage and support the national government to develop and improve its original proposal.

1.We would like an unlimited extension to the period of time the Ecuadorian Government has given to reach an agreement on the preservation the Yasuní. The deadline has currently been extended for the second time till December 2008. But this approach of giving an extra three months here, or five months there, has not generated confidence in the government’s seriousness about finding such a solution or respecting the lives of the those in danger.

2.Once the looming deadline has been lifted it will then be necessary under international human rights laws for the national government to consult with affected parties, most importantly the local and indigenous people of the region. We suggest that in order to create a clear, coherent and fully representative proposal for securing the future of the Yasuní that governments, NGO’s, local people and other concerned parties to work together. We would like to see this process kicked off with an international conference involving all of these parties, with the purpose producing the best solution possible.

3.The government of Ecuador must commit to and take responsibility for unconditionally conserving the Yasuní and protecting the rights of the indigenous people of the region. Such a policy must be coherent, consistent and fully implemented.

4.At the same time the international community, including governments, NGO’s and international organisations, must commit to working with the Ecuadorian government and the local people to create the best possible proposal to preserve the Yasuní. Once a decision has been made, they must wholeheartedly support it and fight to make sure it is carried out properly.

How are we going about doing this?

By working to create a united co-ordinated front with this network so we can be the most effective in supporting the national Government in creating a positive, effective and representaive proposal.

What must not happen?

Any decision to keep the oil underground must be final and non-reversible. The Government should not be able to pay back any money it’s been given by the international community and drill up the oil. Or worse, drill the oil and keep the money.

The Yasuní must not be included in any sort of carbon trading scheme, in which the people of the region would loose the rights to their own forest. Carbon trading is a false solution to climate change. The purpose of saving the Yasuní is to find a real one.

Nor must there be any debt cancellation schemes.

There must be no backhanded deals or the kind of buck-passing so common in international climate change negotiations. Once a decision has been made it will be the responsibility of the national and local governments to make sure promises are met.

All decisions made must be consistent with the conservation of the Yasuní. There can be no parallel projects which have a negative impact on the Yasuní, it’s bio-diversity or indigenous cultures.

Who supports and endorses Yasuní Green Gold?

The not-for-profit organisation Movimiento Idun co-ordinates and provides legal status for the campaign on an international level.

The local government of Orellana gave knowledge and information, resources and experiences so the campaign could be launched from a solid base within the local community. They offered their photographs, are distributing the book in Ecuador and continue to offer all the help and support they can.

The New Internationalist dropped everything to help publish the campaign book in under half the normal time to get help the campaign onto its feet. Our involvement increased when we decided to collaborate on the UK part of the campaign.

Since the beginning, Spanish organisations such as Iwith or Eutopía-Consultores Sin Fronteras have been helping to consolidate the International Campaign.

Lots of individuals and other groups have supported the campaign including scientists, anthropologists and environmentalists such as Jane Goodall, Ricardo Carrere and more…please check our website for a full list.

Last but not least over a hundred volunteers have dedicated their time and skills to building all the different aspects of the campaign from design to translation.