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UN: Italy-Ecuador accord on Yasuni Park

Italy, Ecuador and the UN working together on the environment. Under-Secretary Staffan De Mistura, Minister for Culture of Ecuador Maria Fernanda Espinosa and Bisrat Aklilu of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) signed an accord in the margins of the 67th UNGA to protect Ecuador’s Yasuni Park.

The purpose of the accord is to outline the modalities for implementation of an accord signed back in June in by the two countries that envisions the conversion of a portion of Ecuador’s debt – equal to 35 million euro – into a contribution to the UNDP Trust Fund. The Fun will administer the Yasuni-ITT initiative for preventing oil drilling in the Ecuadorian park, an expanse of nearly one million hectares of forests and one of the richest biodiversity areas on the planet declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO.

Italy, among the project’s main supporters

Ecuador pledged to conserve the park’s underground oil reserves indefinitely (the proceeds of which are estimated at an approximate 7.3 million dollars over a 13-year period), in the expectation of a possible broader commitment by the international community to follow Italy’s lead. “I would like to point out Ecuador’s generosity in having undertaken such a financially demanding pledge – deciding not to drill for oil”, said Under-Secretary De Mistura during the signing ceremony. “I hope that this will become a model for other countries”. Italy’s contribution of 35 million euro makes it one of the project’s main sustainers.

Meeting with young Italians in NY

De Mistura also met with a new generation of Italian emigrants in New York, most of them professionals. “I am proud of the tenacity with which you have decided to try you hand at a highly competitive country like this, and of the sacrifices that you have had to make leaving Italy. I know what it means, having spent 41 years abroad”, the Under-Secretary said, speaking to a hundred or so young people during a cocktail party organized by the Alumni Bocconi of North America, attended also by Vice Consul Lucia Pasqualini. De Mistura promised that Italy would not fail to support its young people: “I assure you”, he said, “Rome plans to increase efforts at assisting all you who have gone abroad and to increase opportunities for encounter in order to facilitate contacts and idea exchanges, keeping in mind a possible return home, that certainly some of you will do, in the interests of your country”. “Your baggage of experience cannot and must not be wasted”, he concluded.