Yasuni National Park - ITT oil extraction, Ecuador

Cancelled by the Correa government in 2013, the Yasuni initiative is still one of the most inspiring social proposal to step out from extractivism and a call for the whole world to "yasunize" our territories.


The Yasuni National Park is located between the Provinces of Orellana and Pastaza and it's been declared by UNESCO a World Biosphere Reserve for its biodiversity. It covers a large part of Ecuadorian Amazonia and it is home to one of the highest levels of biodiversity in the world, as well as indigenous non-contacted communities. The Park includes in fact the ancestral territory of the indigenous Waorani, Kichwas, Shuar, as well as the Tagaeri, and Taromenane people, who make up the last two known indigenous groups living in voluntary isolation in Ecuador.

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Basic Data
NameYasuni National Park - ITT oil extraction, Ecuador
ProvinceOrellana and Pastaza
SiteCampos petroleros de Ishpingo-Tiputini-Tambococha
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Oil and gas exploration and extraction
Specific CommoditiesLand
Crude oil
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsThe park is divided into 6 different lots (blocks 14, 15,16,17,31 and ITT) with 8 oil concessions.

In block 31 there was a reserve equal to 69 million barrels. It was built a 300 km pipeline to carry the crude oil to Agrio Lake. Subsequently, they would build 142 standard wells and 17 injection wells.

In the block ITT, Petrobras planed to extract from 2006 onwards 65,000 barrels a day of heavy oil. But then came the ITT initiative from 2007 to 2013. An estimated 846 million oil barrels would be left untapped thanks to the Yasun ITT project.

The oil extraction on the block 15 has polluted 4 protected areas, damaged 28 indigenous communities and 22 rural communities.
Type of PopulationRural
Start Date1992
Company Names or State EnterprisesPerez Companc from Argentina
Petroecuador from Ecuador
Petróleo Brasileiro S.A (PETROBRAS) from Brazil
Royal Dutch Shell (Shell) from Netherlands
Relevant government actorsMinistry for Oil and Mining Ecuador, President Rafael Correa of Ecuador
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersAccion Ecologica, Amazonia por la Vida, Oilwatch, ONHAE, Huaorani people, Shuar, Quechua, A Sud and CDCA from Italy
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingIndigenous groups or traditional communities
Informal workers
International ejos
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of MobilizationBlockades
Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Arguments for the rights of mother nature
Appeals/recourse to economic valuation of the environment
In 2014, there is still hope of a national referendum in Ecuador against oil drilling in the ITT block of the Yasuni National Park
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Potential: Air pollution, Desertification/Drought, Food insecurity (crop damage), Global warming, Noise pollution, Soil erosion, Waste overflow, Groundwater pollution or depletion
OtherSeismic exploration on 250 000 hectares.
Health ImpactsVisible: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Deaths
Potential: Malnutrition, Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..) , Occupational disease and accidents
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Increase in violence and crime, Specific impacts on women
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseMigration/displacement
Strengthening of participation
Fostering a culture of peace
Development of AlternativesThe complete stop of the oil exploration and extraction in the Yasuni National Park, and the restoration of the area. Campaign for way out from extractivism, as the slogan "yasunizar" suggests.

Call for a referendum about the ITT oil exploitation, which was accomplished by the Yasunidos coalition, and the recognition of people's voice.
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.While the extraction in Block ITT was stopped by the Ecuadorian government until 2013 only, the other blocks in the Yasuni National Park have continued their activity, affecting and violating human rights of other non-contacted communities.

The popular call for a step out from the national progressive extractivism did not find support from the government.
Sources and Materials

Decree N 322

Decree N202 of 18/05/92

Decree No.522


Actividades hidrocarburiferas en areas protegidas. Oilwatch. 2003

Moratoria a la ampliacion de la frontera petrolera. Oilwatch. 2002

Il sangue della terra. Atlante geografico del petrolio. A Sud. Ed. Derive-Approdi. 2006

Atlas amazonico de Ecuador, resistencia y agresiones. Accion Ecologica-CONAIE. 2006

Areas Protegidas Protegidas contra quien?. Oilwatch. 2004
[click to view]

Asalto al paraso. Oilwatch. 2005

Marea Negra en la Amazonia. Autori vari. Ed. Abya-yala. 1995

Conflictos socio-ambientales en el Ecuador. Granda, Alicia. Accion Ecologica. 2001

Martin, P.M. (2011) ‘Global Governance from the Amazon: Leaving Oil Underground in Yasuní National Park, Ecuador’, Global Environmental Politics, 11(4), pp. 22-42.

Ejolt Report n. 6, 2013,
[click to view]

Detras de la cortina de humo. Dinmicas sociales y petroleo en el Ecuador. Bustamante, Teodoro. Ed. Flacso. 2007.

Lessons not learned. The other shell report. Friends of the earth. 2004
[click to view]

Shell: Use Your Profits To Clean Up Your Mess. Friends of the earth. 2007
[click to view]


Yasuni Rainforest Campaign
[click to view]

websites of Accion Ecologica and Amazonia por la Vida
[click to view]

La iniciative ITT-Yasuni by Just-Trade & Ecologistas en Accion (in Spanish)
[click to view]

The demise of the Yasuni initiative, Arsel M., Pellegrini, L.
[click to view]

YASunidos Collective website
[click to view]

Amozzonia: Morire di petroleo, CDCA (in Italian)
[click to view]

Media Links

[click to view]

Film by Arturo Hortas, Yasuni ITT: el buen vivir (English subtitles), in EJOLT webpage, www.ejolt.org

Other Documents

Protests march Ago13 Police reacts against a protest march, August 27th 2013
[click to view]

Tagaeri-Taromenane indigenous people Huaorani people living in voluntary isolation in the Yasuni national park, photo UNDP
[click to view]

Other CommentsFilm by Arturo Hortas, Yasuni ITT: el buen vivir (English subtitles), in EJOLT webpage, www.ejolt.org
Meta Information
ContributorLucie Greyl & Joan Martinez Alier
Last update27/10/2015