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This natural area harbors over 2,000 tree species, 250 fish species, 204 mammal species, 610 bird species, 121 reptile species, and 150 amphibian species.
On Sunday, the Ecuadorian citizens expressed their majority stance at the polls in favor of halting oil exploitation in Block 43-ITT, a significant oil deposit located within the Yasuni National Park in the Amazon rainforest.
By Monday morning, the National Electoral Council (NEC) had counted 93 percent of the votes related to this referendum. Within that percentage, 59 percent of the votes were in favor of YES, while 41 percent were in favor of NO.
This plebiscite coincided with the holding of presidential and legislative elections, which called upon 13.4 million Ecuadorians to participate, with 82.26 percent taking part.
The consultation regarding Block 43-ITT was initiated by Yasunidos, an environmental organization that gathered 757,000 citizen signatures and engaged in a ten-year legal battle with Ecuadorian electoral authorities.
In a historic referendum, a majority of Ecuadorians voted to block oil extraction in #UncontactedTribes’ territory in the Yasuní National Park, which is one of the most biodiverse places in the world.https://t.co/r1VoQJ8Vrv
As a result of legal actions pursued by environmental activists, the Constitutional Court approved the holding of a plebiscite to ask Ecuadorians whether or not they wanted oil exploitation in this highly biodiverse zone.
Given that the election results favored the protection of Yasuni, both public and private companies will need to dismantle the facilities within Block 43-ITT within a year.
Currently, Block 43-ITT provides Ecuador with 55,000 barrels of crude oil daily, accounting for 11 percent of the national oil production, which averages 480,000 barrels per day.
The Yasuni revenues yield about US$1.2 billion annually for the Ecuadorian state. However, activists contend that this income is much lower and can be replaced with a wealth tax.
Block 43-ITT occupies a portion of Yasuni, a natural area spanning one million hectares and harboring over 2,000 tree species, 250 fish species, 204 mammal species, 610 bird species, 121 reptile species, and 150 amphibian species.
This oil-rich zone borders the residence area of Indigenous peoples in voluntary isolation such as the Tagaeri, Taromenane, and Dugakaeri.