Ecuador's economy is based mainly on oil extraction and agriculture. These activities have positively impacted most of society. However, industrial agribusiness leads to excessive land use, water extraction and many environmental problems [1]. On the other hand, Ecuadorian production costs and import values for some products are above export returns and interest on debt endangers economic stability [2]. This situation and the country’s political instability have impacted the green economy.

Despite not being one of the largest emitters (0.15% of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide), the country is committed to promoting actions to mitigate and adapt to climate change [1]. Ecuador presented its First Nationally Determined Contribution 2020-2025, in March 2019 [3]. However, some socioeconomic challenges in Ecuador slow down the green economic process for energy transition [4].


Problems related to the green economy in Ecuador include: 1) Corruption making funding not directly reachable to local people, 2) socioeconomic conditions of people in Ecuador related to social inequality causing benefits that are not equally accessible, 3) projects such as REDD+ are not always welcome in the local communities, 4) agricultural, livestock production and oil extraction can be more profitable in the short term making the adoption of long-term sustainable management a real challenge, and 5) maligns subsidies do not create a real change in long-term sustainable management [4], [5].


Key policies and governance approach

In Ecuador, the most important environmental regulatory framework is the Organic Code on the Environment (2017). This Code deals with issues such as: climate change; protected areas; wild nature; forest heritage; environmental quality; waste management; environmental incentives; coastal sea area; mangroves; access to genetic resources; biosafety; biomass and more. In addition to the Organic Code, Ecuador is implementing a model to analyze the energy sector, promoting investments to mitigate the negative consequences of global warming [4].


Successes and remaining challenges

The United Nations Development Programme, together with its Biodiversity Finance Initiative, provided technical assistance and training to the National Corporation of Popular and Solidarity Finances. The support seeks to promote green financing in the cooperative sector, the so-called 'Popular and Solidarity Economy' [6].

Moreover, Ecuador has implemented a framework to decentralize responsibilities and duties on climate change. The provincial autonomous governments of Ecuador have promoted significant progress, such as the creation of Provincial Climate Change Strategies. They aim to identify climate risks in each of the 23 territories. Besides the success of decentralization, the country needs to develop tools that link local actions and measures with the scope of the current national NDC for more efficient results [1].

Success of funded projects carried out in the country have been supported by the World Bank. Those projects include: 1) The Ecuadorian Indigenous and Black Peoples Development project aimed to foster cultural identity, economic development, and environmental conservation with the participation of indigenous peoples [7]. 2) The Local Development Project aimed to support vulnerable populations [8]. Other environmental projects in the country focus on transforming traditional livestock farming into forest pastoral and agroforestry systems that improve environmental management. This includes creating corridors of fruit trees or shrubs, sequestering carbon, conserving biodiversity, and allowing commerce of fruit, timber, and other products in the medium to long term [9]. 


Initiatives and Development Plans

Ecuador's NDCs contains initiatives and measures aligned with the prioritized sectors in the National Climate Change Strategy 2012-2025, seeking to increase the adaptive capacity and the resilience to climate change and make financial flows consistent with low-carbon development [3].


Goals and Ambitions

The National Climate Change Strategy 2012-2025 aimed at a total reduction of up to 20.9% of GHG emissions by 2025 [3]. By 2025, Ecuador will decrease 9% of GHG in the unconditional scenario for Energy, Agriculture, Industrial Processes, and Waste sectors. However, under the conditional scenario, the country could get a total reduction of up to 20.9% [1].


Ecuador has committed to focus on developing and enhancing its green economy. On the basis that agricultural production is key for the Ecuadorian economy, supporting projects to reduce deforestation and ecosystem degradation while enhancing agroforestry and projects based on nature are great opportunities for Ecuador. These projects link the land, forestry and biodiversity sectors through green economy.


[1] Grupo FARO. (2021). Documento metodológico “Guía para la inclusión de las NDC Ecuador a nivel subnacional en la planificación territorial”. Quito: Grupo FARO.

[2] Golla, S., Gerke, S.  (2018).  Primer Estudio para una Transición de Energía Sostenible del Ecuador. El fin del Petróleo. Energía. 14,246-255. ISSN 1390-5074.


[4] González-Rair, A., 2020. Environmental Policy and Directions of Development of “Green Economy” in Ecuador, Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Contemporary Problems in the Development of Economic, Financial and Credit Systems (DEFCS 2020, Atlantis Press, 87-91,  

[5] Sanabria, L., 2018. Economía verde y derechos de la naturaleza: El proyecto Socio Bosque en Ecuador. Nuestras Praxis. DOI:   

[6] UNDP, 2022. Ecuador da pasos firmes para promover financiamiento verde. [Online]. Available: Retrieved November 2022.

[7] Independent Office of Evaluation (IOE). 2004. Development Project for Indigenous and Afro-Ecuadorian Peoples. [Online]. Available: Retrieved November 2022.

[8] World Bank, 2022. Local Development Support Project. [Online]. Available: Retrieved November 2022.

[9] Landscape for our future, 2022. Andean landscapes – promoting integrated landscape management for sustainable livelihoods in the Ecuadorian Andes. [Online]. Available: Retrieved November 2022.