The Largest Debt-For-Nature Deal Is Underway In Ecuador.

Ecuador's Debt-For-Nature Deal is Largest Ever.
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Ecuador’s Debt-For-Nature Deal is Largest Ever. Source: Unsplash

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Ecuador’s Debt-For-Nature Deal is Largest Ever

As part of continuing efforts to conserve and protect the Galapagos Islands and the waters surrounding it, Ecuador’s debt-for-nature deal will clear most of its commercial debt to fund the conservation and management of the area.

The Beauty of the Galapagos

The Galapagos Islands and the marine ecosystems surrounding them are some of the world’s most beautiful and important natural environments. They are home to thousands of species of different fish, crustaceans, and underwater plants. 

Not only that, but they also host deep-sea coral reefs, which are being studied to understand how coral reefs can be protected and conserved in the future. 

Until recently, the area has been subject to overfishing and environmental degradation, which is why the Galagos Marine Reserve and the Hermandad Reserve were established. 

The Hermandad Reserve and the Galagos Marine Reserve are two newly created marine protected areas located off the coast of Ecuador. The Hermandad Reserve covers an area of 60,000 square kilometers, while the Galagos Reserve covers an area of 30,000 square kilometers. The two reserves are located in the Eastern Tropical Pacific (ETP), which is a biodiversity hotspot. The ETP is home to a wide variety of marine life, including sharks, rays, turtles, dolphins, and whales.

The Hermandad and Galagos Reserves were created to protect the marine life in the ETP. The reserves will help to prevent overfishing, pollution, and habitat destruction. The protected areas have seen increased levels of marine biodiversity and regeneration as a result of their efforts, and other organizations have seen this and taken note. 

In Ecuador’s debt-for-nature deal, the country has entered into an agreement with Credit Suisse to wipe out a majority of its debt in exchange for increased funding and management of natural areas. 

The Economics of the Deal

Beyond being beautiful, the Galapagos Islands also represent a major economic benefit. The area is a major draw for tourists who wish to see the unique flora and fauna that is only present in the area. As well as this, they represent a monument to conservation and restoration that can be replicated in other places. 

This is why in Ecuador’s debt-for-nature deal they are agreeing to this arrangement with Credit Suisse, as they can have more resources available to protect and restore the area even further. The deal works by converting $1.6 billion of its existing commercial debt into a $656 million loan issued as a bond. 

Over the course of 18 years, Ecuador will repay this new loan and provide around $18 million each year for the conservation of the waters surrounding the Galapagos Islands. 

The funding would mainly support the management of the Galapagos Marine Reserve and the Hermandad Reserve but would also finance an endowment aimed at generating ongoing funding for marine conservation. 

These deals have occurred in 16 other countries so far, but Ecuador’s debt-for-nature deal is the largest to date. In addition to supporting marine conservation efforts, the deal will save Ecuador around $1 billion in borrowing costs. 

Pablo Arosemena Marriott, Ecuador’s minister of economy and finance, said in a statement. “This strategy decreases public debt, boosts fiscal stability, and creates opportunities to address basic needs like healthcare and education.”

Ecuador’s Debt-For-Nature Deal Inspires Others

Deals like this are remarkable in their ability to address ecological issues and benefit the people of the nation engaging in them. It shows that saving our environment doesn’t have to be a net cost for the people but can actually help the people. 

Creating a tangible link between saving the environment and material benefits is important, as it reinforces in the minds of many that saving the environment means saving themselves as well. 

As we go into the future, Ecuador’s debt-for-nature deal and the benefits will inspire other organizations and nations around the world to enter into these agreements, solidifying the change needed on a global scale. 

Climate change is a global and dangerous situation we are in, but saving it need not be detrimental to the individuals ultimately most impacted. 

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