23 September 2011

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Ecuador’s Initiative to Protect Rainforest Demonstrates Sustainable Development

Possible with Leadership, Creativity, Commitment, Says Secretary-General


Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks at a high-level event on the Yasuní-ITT initiative, in New York, 23 September:

The Yasuní-ITT Initiative is a remarkable idea.

The United Nations is honoured to have been invited to participate in this project.

It is not often that a Government chooses sustainable development over easy money.

Yet that is what we are seeing — that and so much more.

The initiative is helping Ecuador move on multiple fronts towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

It is supporting indigenous livelihoods and culture.

It is protecting biodiversity.

It will help to avoid emissions of greenhouse gases.

And it is showing the contribution that can be made through an innovative financial mechanism.

When President [Rafael] Correa and I agreed to co-host this event, I wanted Ecuador to have an opportunity to show the world what a country with limited resources can do to achieve sustainable development for its people.

The United Nations is committed to supporting Ecuador in this endeavour.

The Government of Ecuador and the Multi-Partner Trust Fund Office of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have established a Trust Fund so that financial contributions can be channelled transparently.

Those funds are meant to be used for social development, renewable energy, reforestation and conservation, and for research, science, technology and innovation.

The project also has a climate change component.  We continue to seek faster, more decisive progress in global climate negotiations.  At the same time, national action is crucial.  Indeed, in showing what is possible on the ground, such concrete steps can lead the way towards solutions and support the negotiations.

The Yasuní-ITT Initiative is doing just that.

The world is just learning about Yasuní.  I hope word travels far and wide.

Support is growing and material contributions are beginning to flow.

It is especially moving to see people around the world getting involved and contributing, even if only small amounts. 

The initiative is clearly striking a chord.

This event can generate hope for Yasuní and its communities — hope for a better future.

I invite you all to renew your support.

And I encourage you to leave here with this message:  Sustainable development is possible; it only takes leadership, creativity and commitment.

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For information media • not an official record