Ecuador Says Germany Backs Cash-For-Conservation in Amazon

QUITO – The Yasuni-ITT initiative, Ecuador's offer to forgo exploiting Amazon oil reserves in exchange for aid from wealthy nations, will take the form of a trust with an initial endowment from Germany, the Andean nation's foreign ministry said Friday.

The plan emerged from a meeting in Berlin between Foreign Minister Fander Falconi and Germany's secretary for economic cooperation and development, Erich Stather, the ministry said.

Falconi and Stather agreed to strive for the creation of "a trust, within an international body, where Germany will deliver the first significant contribution," according to a foreign ministry statement.

The ministry noted that Germany had supported the Yasuni-ITT initiative from the beginning, funding the technical studies needed to draft a detailed plan.

Quito wants the international community to provide $350 million a year in aid for a decade in exchange for Ecuador's pledge not to extract millions of barrels of oil from the ITT field in Yasuni National Park.

Ecuador says it will use proceeds from the ITT-Yasuni trust to fund economic development and renewable energy projects and to prevent deforestation in 40 environmentally protected zones.

Oil is Ecuador's main export, and the Andean nation currently produces an average of about 500,000 barrels per day of crude, of which state-owned Petroecuador accounts for just over 50 percent.

Revenue from oil exports finances roughly 35 percent of Ecuador's public spending. EFE

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