The “Yasuni-ITT Initiative” or the impossible change of Ecuador oil policy par Guillaume Fontaine (FLACSO-Equateur, Quito)


Fontaine, Guillaume, “The “Yasuni-ITT Initiative” or the impossible change of Ecuador oil policy par Guillaume Fontaine (FLACSO-Equateur, Quito),” Bibliothèque numérique Paris 8, accessed October 1, 2020,


Enregistrements audio du colloque international "Le pétrole, entre nationalismes et régionalismes : approches géopolitiques et anthropologiques" organisé par Hosham Dawod (FMSH) et Marc-Antoine de Montclos (IFG) les 24 et 25 septembre 2014 à la Fondation Maison des sciences de l’homme de Paris (A retrouver sur France Culture Plus).

The “Yasuni-ITT Initiative” or the impossible change of Ecuador oil policy par Guillaume Fontaine (FLACSO-Equateur, Quito).

Policy change analysis deals with problems of direction (linear or not), rhythm (revolutionary or evolutionary) and scope (reversible or irreversible). Ecuadorian oil policy is a case for an evolutionary, non-linear and reversible change, since it has been the object of accelerated and structural reforms, implemented by Rafael Correa’s government since 2007. Nevertheless, in this process not all reforms found a happy end. Such is the case of the proposal not to extract the heavy crude oil reserves located in the Ishpingo, Tiputini and Tambococha (ITT) fields, in the Amazon region near the Peruvian border. This program was launched by the same government in 2007, then officially abandoned in 2013, so the ITT reserves should be exploited sooner or later, unless a massive popular movement manages to reverse President Correa’s decision.

We analyze why this proposal did not catch on, in spite of its high degree of legitimacy in the national and international arenas. This program was designed in order to protect the Ecuadorian Amazon biodiversity and mitigate climate change by reducing CO2 emissions. Though it was presented by its promoters as a paradigm shift, we explain that it was a mere programatic change, whose reversal was due to a lack or articulation with other reforms implemented in the legal, fiscal and technical areas of oil policy. The formulation of this proposal was undoubtedly the result of the convergence of three factors – the legitimacy of the problem and the solution, and the political will – but its implementation was doomed by an inacurate policy design.

This leads us to evaluate the effectiveness of the implementation style. Our method is based on a fourfold typology of substantive and procedimental policy instruments: information, authority, treasure and organization. We analyze the instrument mix used by the government to implement the “Yasuni-ITT Initiative”, according to their coherence with the objectives of conservation and climate change mitigation, on the one hand, and the consistency among these instruments, on the other hand.


Politique énergétique -- Pays en voie de développement -- Congrès et conférences Géopolitique Pétrole -- Aspect économique -- Congrès et conférences Pétrole -- Industrie et commerce -- Politique publique


Fontaine, Guillaume


Paris 8






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Domain (Dewey)

320 Science politique : l’Etat et le gouvernement
338 Economie de la production