Ecuador has agreed to refrain from drilling oil in an Amazon preserve for 10 years in exchange for a donor trust fund worth USD3.6 billion.
The oilfields under the Yasuni preserve hold about 846 million barrels of crude oil, or 20 percent of Ecuador’s oil reserves.
Keeping the oil in the ground will prevent 410 million metric tons of carbon dioxide from polluting the atmosphere and exacerbating global warming, Los Angeles Times notes.
The pioneering accord was signed by Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino and United Nations Development Program Associate Administrator Rebeca Grynspan.
Donor countries that have expressed interest in contributing to the Yasuni fund include Germany, Spain, Belgium, Netherlands, Norway, Italy and the U.S.
The multi-billion-dollar trust fund represents about half the expected revenue from selling oil that would have been removed from Yasuni, the Los Angeles Times adds.
UNESCO declared the area as World Biosphere Reserve in 1989. The park is home to unique species and also hosts the Huarani tribe, a hunter-gatherer indigenous group.