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Global Governance from the Amazon: Leaving Oil Underground in Yasuní National Park, Ecuador

By Pamela L. Martin


This article explores the saga of the campaign to save the Ishpingo-Tambococha-Tiputini (ITT) block of the Yasuní National Park in Ecuador's Western Amazon, a story of the complex transnational networks and global governance mechanisms that have emerged to create post-Kyoto solutions for the planet. Ecuador's Yasuní-ITT Initiative to keep nearly 900 million barrels of oil underground in exchange for global contributions for avoided emissions presents an alternative norm for global environmental governance in line with the indigenous concept of buen vivir, or the good life. This means living in harmony with nature, and is embodied in the Ecuadorian Constitution of 2008. These changes, however, are not without pressures and inconsistencies at the domestic and international levels. Ultimately, the Yasuní-ITT Initiative and subsequent UNDP Yasuní Trust Fund offer replicable models for other fossil fuel dependent and megadiverse countries in the developing world. © 2011 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

DOI identifier: 10.1162/GLEP_a_00082
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