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2 | 2011
Energy and Development
Dossier | Energie et développement - Revue | Évolutions des politiques de développement

Pay to Preserve: The Global Politics of Ecuador’s Yasuní-ITT Proposal

Pamela L. Martin
Payer pour préserver : la politique internationale de la proposition équatorienne Yasuní-ITT


Published by Palgrave Macmillan

The case to leave nearly 900 million barrels of oil underground in Ecuador’s Amazonian Yasuní National Park demonstrates the significance of transnational networks in the institutionalisation of alternative norms for global environmental governance. Through complex local and global networks, the Yasuní Fund, governed with UNDP, has created a potential model of replication for other developing, megadiverse countries that are trapped in the petro-curse and yet seek solutions contributing towards sustainable development and social justice. What makes the Yasuní-ITT initiative unique is its call to protect the environment and the indigenous societies that live within it by paying for avoided carbon emissions. Such a plan unites global climate change goals for a post-Kyoto solution that involves the South with Ecuador’s constitutional and normative base of living in harmony with nature, sumak kawsay in Quichua (el buen vivir in Spanish) or ‘the good life’.

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Electronic reference

Pamela L. Martin, « Pay to Preserve: The Global Politics of Ecuador’s Yasuní-ITT Proposal », International Development Policy | Revue internationale de politique de développement [Online], 2 | 2011, Online since 24 May 2011, connection on 16 November 2018. URL : ; DOI : 10.4000/poldev.770

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About the author

Pamela L. Martin

Associate Professor of Politics, Coastal Carolina University. Her research for this article took place on a Fulbright Scholarship in Ecuador in 2009. Her publications include The Globalization of Contentious Politics: The Amazonian Indigenous Rights Movement, published by Routledge, and Yasuní Depends on You, an interactive simulation published by Georgetown University.

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International Development Policy is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

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