U.S. Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) recently reintroduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation aimed at establishing a U.S. Foundation for International Conservation.
This announcement was made on World Wildlife Day and marks the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
The foundation would fund public-private partnerships that support local communities across the globe in effectively managing protected and conserved areas.
According to the World Wildlife Fund, the world is currently exposed to significant threats due to the loss of global biodiversity. On average, monitored wildlife populations have decreased by almost 70% between 1970 and 2018.
While protected and conserved areas are crucial in safeguarding wildlife and essential ecosystems, they frequently suffer from inadequate funding.
The foundation is expected to raise as much as $2 billion for protected areas and communities over the next decade.
The bill is cosponsored by Senators John Boozman (R-Ark.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.). Representatives David Joyce (R-Ohio), Betty McCollum (D-Minn.), Chris Stewart (R-Utah), and Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) lead the bill in the House of Representatives.
The text of the bill is available here.
The foundation aims to provide economic opportunities, create plans for transferring management skills to local institutions, and demonstrate cost-matching conservation efforts, with engagement and support from host countries and local populations.
“We are at a critical moment for financing the conservation of biodiversity and the lands and waters that sustain our planet’s health. The U.S. Foundation for International Conservation will help meet these challenges by leveraging private funding for solutions that are driven by the local communities who live and work around protected areas – in turn, providing stability and stability to these areas,” said Senator Coons. “As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the signing of CITES, we must also recognize that we can do more to prevent the illegal wildlife trade by effectively managing protected and conserved areas. I look forward to working with my colleagues to quickly advance this important legislation.”
“The creation of the Foundation for International Conservation is a win-win in that the bill leverages private capital while supporting the long-term protection of critical landscapes around the world,” said Senator Graham. “Investments in conservation lead to food security and regional stability. I am proud to work with my colleagues and stakeholders to position the United States as a leader in international conservation.”
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