A Gift From Our Planet: “I am Yasuní”

By Lynn Ponder: As the world gets ready to celebrate Earth Day, I had the honor of having a conversation about a global innovative environmental initiative with a powerful women, Ecuador Ambassador Ivonne A-Baki, the Chief Negotiator (Presidential appointment) of the Yasuní National Park-IT. Ambassador Baki served as Ecuador’s Ambassador to the U.S. from 1996 to 2002. Ambassador A-Baki has PhD studies and holds a Masters in Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Let me start by explaining what is Yasuní National Park , what I learned and why Ambassador Baki was in Miami:

•Yasuní Park is one of the most extraordinary bio-diverse spots on Earth.

•Yasuní Park covers 982,000 hectares and is located in the Upper Napo Valley in the Western Amazon region of Ecuador.

•One hectare in Yasuní contains more tree species than are native to the whole of North America.

•The Park lies within a forest eco-region and is primarily a rain forest.

•The Yasuní National Park was designated a World Biosphere Reserve in 1989 by UNESCO.

•Yasuní National Park is home to the Tageri-Taromenane, an indigenous people living voluntary isolation

The purpose of Ambassador Baki trip to Miami was to explain in a larger forum about Ecuador’s proposal to refrain indefinitely from exploiting the oil reserves of the Ishpingo-Tambococha-Tiputini (ITT) oil field within the Yasuní National Park (in the Amazon jungle).

Ecuador launched a multimedia social media marketing campaign this week to engage youth, organizations and others to become active in spreading the message about Yasuní Park “as we believe it belongs to the world and it needs to be protected says Ivonne Baki”

The new campaign titled “I Am Yasuní” – “Yo Soy Yasuní” needs your help to reach 1,000,000 views:

Ambassador Baki arrived in Miami right off the plane from previous presentations in Dubai, Lebanon and Beriut, where she was in front of the most powerful influencers of the Gulf Region. She mentioned that Bo Derek a long time advocate for animal welfare accompanied her during the presentation in Dubai for Sheikh Muhammed Al Maktoum.

Some of the questions I asked Ambassador Baki:

How long has the Yasuní-ITT initiative been in the works?

Baki: It started when the actual president of Ecuador, Rafael Correa in 2007 presented an idea to reduce emissions and to fight global warming during the Clinton Global Initiative. The importance for caring for the earth made the idea become a reality on August 2010.

Is this the first time it is presented to the Miami Community?

Baki: The World has been aware of the Yasuní- ITT initiative but it was the first time to be presented in a larger group and thrilled to present to Miami Dade College as our youth understands about caring for the Earth and they are the present and the future. The presentation was incredibly well received and their questions were fantastic.

How are your presentations accelerating achieving objectives set for the Yasuni-ITT program?

As a matter of fact,today I received a letter of support signed by 65 Scientist from around the Globe stating that Yasuní Park is the only place in the world that has the 4 biological important groups: birds, mammals, amphibians and plants. This letter requests not to spoil this unique place of our planet. Yasuní Park is unique because of the geographical position as it stands in the intersection of the Equator and the Mountains of the Andes having made Yasuní Park immune to climate changes since million of years.

I am thrilled to find out about the Yasuní-ITT initiative just being launched through Social Media to expand the message and have high hopes for it to go viral:

Baki: Yes, we just commenced our social media campaign to reach a global audience and create awareness not only with government entities but with our youth. We welcome your participation in social media by sharing our video campaign “I Am Yusani”- “Yo Soy Yasuní”.

Thank you Ambassador Baki it has been a learning experience and such a pleasure to talk to you. And Yes, I have already started tweeting about Yasuní Park!

Baki: Wonderful!!! Thank you so much for your time.

The following 5 minute infographic video explains in a simple and visual way what this initiative means for Ecuador and for that matter the world:

Lets unite to help our planet everyday and celebrate Earth Day with hope. Thank YOU!