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Policy Debate | Ecuador’s Yasuní-ITT Initiative : Why did it fail ?

Editors' notes

This policy debate section presents an initial discussion paper written either by a scholar or a policy-maker, followed by critical reactions from academics, reflective practitioners and other stakeholders in a constructive spirit. This debate can be pursued on the eJournal’s blog where you are invited to share your reflections under your name.

In her article ‘Pay to Preserve: The Global Politics of Ecuador’s Yasuní-ITT Proposal’, published in DevPol’s special issue on  Energy and Development in 2011, Pamela L. Martin, Associate Professor of Politics at the Coastal Carolina University in Conway, South Carolina, provided a favourable outlook on Ecuador’s innovative environmental governance mechanism. Accordingly, its unique potential lay in its objective of contributing towards sustainable development and social justice and in case of success, the author even predicted a possible replication in other developing countries. Despite its benefits, the initiative was abandoned in 2013. In this paper, Martin revisits the initiative and analyses the reasons for its failure, namely President Correa’s public pursuit of a Plan B, entering into negotiations with oil firms interested to explore the ITT reserves. Moreover, the initiative was in stark competition with the national REDD+ programme, the mainstream policy approach to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation against payments, which is being negotiated under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Pamela L. Martin’s article is followed by a response by Dr. Imme Scholz, Deputy Director of the German Development Institute/Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE). She examines why Germany, as the largest European donor, withdrew its support for the Yasuní-ITT Initiative.

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Download the whole debate (pdf)

Initial position by Pamela L. Martin, Associate Professor of Politics, Coastal Carolina University.

Ecuador’s Yasuní-ITT Initiative : Why did it fail ? [Original article in full]

Reaction from Imme Scholz, Deputy Director of the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE)

Toward a Revolutionary Path: Ecuador’s Yasuní-ITT Initiative [Original article in full]

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