Protecting the Planet’s Biological and Cultural Diversity
The Pachamama Alliance, along with Amazon Watch, Acción Ecologica, the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE), and Yasunidos, is supporting a referendum to reinstate the Yasuní-ITT Initiative that would protect one of the most bio-diverse regions of the Amazon.
Ecuador’s President Correa ended the Initiative in 2013, citing a lack of international support and funding. The Initiative would have protected the Ishpingo-Tambococha-Tiputini (ITT) Block, located in Ecuador’s Yasuní National Park, from oil extraction. The ITT block is estimated to harbor some 900 million barrels of crude oil valued at more than US $7 billion. Yasuní National Park also harbors territory of the Tagaeri and Taromenane indigenous tribes that choose to avoid contact with the outside world.
Yasunidos – United for Yasuní
Amazon Watch and Yasunidos (a coalition that includes Acción Ecologica, The Pachamama Alliance, and the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador – CONAIE), is supporting the Yasunidos Initiative signature drive. Yasunidos is collecting the signatures of Ecuadorian citizens for a national referendum that asks the public to vote on the question: “Are you in favor of leaving oil in the ground in Block 43/Yasuni-ITT indefinitely?”
Amazon Watch reports that The National Election Commission of Ecuador has provisionally accepted the referendum question. A minimum of 600,0000 signatures needs to be gathered by April 11 to allow for a special election to take place in July 2014. In order to collect the required signatures, several hundred Yasunidos volunteers are working across the country.