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UN agency and Ecuador sign deal to protect ecological site from oil

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Ecuador have reached agreement to set up a trust fund to protect an ecological site in an oil-rich area of the South American country’s Amazon region.An estimated 846 million barrels of crude oil lying under the Yasuní National Park, which has been a World Biosphere Reserve since 1989, will be left alone under the deal that was signed yesterday in Quito, the Ecuadorian capital.Yasuní, which is located in Ecuador’s Western Amazon region, covers 982,000 hectares in area and is considered one of the planet’s most biodiverse sites.UNDP estimates this accord will prevent the discharge into the atmosphere of more than 400 million tons of carbon that would have resulted from the burning of fossil fuels if the oil had been extracted at the Ishpingo-Tambococha-Tiputini (ITT) fields.Ecuador will now seek contributions from governments to protect those fields from drilling and stressed that the initiative would not become a reality until the funds are collected. The trust fund, which will be administered by UNDP, will have the objective of eventually holding at least half of the estimated $7 billion that tapping the oil would bring.Rebeca Grynspan, UNDP Associate Administrator and a signatory to the agreement, said that “we are witnessing the inauguration of new instruments of cooperation which will act as a basis for supporting other national and international efforts directed towards the search for economies that are in harmony with society, nature and the planet.”UNDP already administers more than 30 funds covering 74 countries through its Multi-Donor Trust Fund Office. 4 August 2010The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Ecuador have reached agreement to set up a trust fund to protect an ecological site in an oil-rich area of the South American country’s Amazon region.

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