The Yasuní-ITT Failure

The Yasuní-ITT Initative was a project I have felt deeply connected with. I wrote my quite successful master’s thesis about this Ecuadorian rainforest. I still find the underlying idea of integrating environmental protection, (implicit) biodiversity valuation, development aid and support of indigenous poples great. Alas, the international community wasn’t convinced, obviously. Ecuador’s unique biodiversity hotspot and home to still uncontacted indigenous tribes has lost another battle against disinterest, parochialism, the economic crises of the present and short-sightedness on the side of developed-world decision makers (particularly the German minister for development cooperation, Dirk Niebel). Continue reading


Yasuní in Master’s Thesis

I already once mentioned that I was going to write a master’s thesis about economic valuation of ecosystems and the Yasuní rainforest of Ecuador. I submitted the thesis some months ago and wanted to make it available to anyone interested in the subject. It can be downloaded here: I make it available under under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License, so you are free to use it with the restriction of no changes and no commercial use.

[UPDATE: As UbuntuOne, where I had uploaded my thesis, has gone offline, the thesis is no longer available. In case you are interested in getting it, write a comment.]

[UPDATE2: The thesis can be downloaded from ResearchGate here.]

Yasuní – A Model for the Future?

How much is a pristine ecosystem worth to us? And a stable climate? These are questions that are very controversial among many environmentalists, as I recently discussed. However, economic valuation of Nature and its “services” is not just a theoretical possibility, it is a fact. A particularly interesting example of an (implicit) valuation of an ecosystem is the Ecuadorian Yasuní-ITT Initiative. Continue reading

Yasuní-ITT vs. Dirk Niebel

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about the Yasuní-ITT initiative as an attempt to attach a value to ecosystems. The initiative’s goal is to set up a fund assisting the development of Ecuador in return for the country’s government not exploiting the oil reserves lying under the Yasuní-ITT rainforest. Owing mainly to the refusal of the German development minister Dirk Niebel, the fund has not been set up so far. Thus it was interesting to read his commentary on that subject in a newspaper the day before yesterday. In the following I would like to present his arguments and comment on them. Continue reading

Yasuní – Attaching Value to Ecosystems

Many will have heard about the Yasuní-ITT Initiative. It is a proposal made by the Ecuadorian government – it offered not to drill for oil in the Ishpingo-Tiputini-Tambococha (a part of the Yasuní National Park) if the international community were to compensate Ecuador for at least half of the foregone revenues. This initiative could become a milestone towards the attaching of value to ecosystems and biodiversity. Furthermore, although not every Western politician seems able to recognize this fact, saving Yasuní by paying Ecuador would be a win-win situation. Continue reading