Global conservation act of 2010 maps the way to cooperative conservation

3/26/2010

New Bill Demonstrates Bipartisan Leadership in U.S. Congress, CI Celebrates

Arlington, Virginia – Conservation International (CI) enthusiastically applauds the bold, bipartisan leadership shown by members of Congress today in setting forth a strategic, coordinated roadmap to conservation which will confront the depletion of natural resources worldwide, and support the security, prosperity, and health of future generations.

Introduced and referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs by Democratic and Republican leaders, the Global Conservation Act of 2010 (H.R. 4959) lays out a clear set of goals and strategies to unify what has become a fractured, decentralized process for the protection of wildlife and wilderness abroad.

Democrat Rep. Russ Carnahan of Missouri and Republican Rep. Jeff Fortenberry of Nebraska led co-sponsorship of the bill, which introduces a plan to aggregate the collective international conservation actions of six federal agencies in one unified strategy led by a Special Coordinator for Global Conservation in the Executive Branch.

Manuel Oliva, Director of U.S. Policy for Conservation International, praised it as an important step forward in unifying the assets of the U.S. government. "A lot of news lately has focused on how partisan politics have taken over in Washington." Oliva added, "This bi-partisan effort highlights the ability of both parties to come together when there is agreement on a critical issue and the proper plan to solve it. CI, along with our partners, is proud to work with Congressional leaders to support it."

Under the coordination of the White House, the bill requires that agencies develop a plan to:

  • Protect millions of square miles of land and sea
  • Address illegal and unregulated fishing around the world
  • Safeguard the natural sources of fresh water to major population centers around the world
  • Stop the worst wildlife trafficking operations
  • Stabilize environmental destruction trends in areas vulnerable to conflict and instability

 

The need is clear. The world is facing an imminent crisis of extinction and natural resource depletion. Left unchecked, this trend is likely to have a dramatically negative impact on the billions of people worldwide who depend on access to healthy ecosystem services, from fresh water to secure food supplies to natural barriers to medicines derived from nature. One quarter of the world’s mammals and a third of primates and amphibians are Severely Endangered , while the rapid loss of tropical forests, coral reefs and healthy soils threatens to slow the growth of developing nations. Tropical deforestation alone contributes to more global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than every car, truck, train, ship and airplane on the planet – combined.

Members of the Alliance for Global Conservation, which includes Conservation International, The Nature Conservancy, the Pew Environment Group, Wildlife Conservation Society, and World Wildlife Fund said in a collective statement today, "As some of the foremost organizations promoting natural resource conservation around the world, we enthusiastically support the Global Conservation Act of 2010. The legislation’s approach to preserving natural ecosystems will protect our prosperity, security, and health [and] help reduce the hundreds of millions of dollars in losses U.S. companies sustain when they are forced to compete with illegal logging, fishing, and mining operations in other countries."

Effective management of, and funding to protect, the world’s natural resources, is currently far below what is needed to turn the tide before it is too late. The bill introduced today asks the administration to develop a national strategy for global conservation with defined, measurable benchmarks to monitor progress, and a national security assessment of the threats posed by resource scarcities. It also encourages the administration to secure additional funding and support for a global conservation strategy from other countries – including European nations, Japan, China, and India.

"The leadership demonstrated by the support of this bill represents the kind of leadership the United States of America need to show to help us harness the collective will of stakeholders and leaders worldwide", said Olivier Langrand, CI’s Executive Vice President of Public Sector Engagement. "What happens there, affects us here. No matter where 'here' is. So it is essential that we come together now to conserve the natural resources that sustain and protect us all."

The Global Conservation Act of 2010 is cosponsored by Representatives Russ Carnahan (D-MO), Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE), Dave Reichert (R-WA), Norman Dicks (D-WA), James Moran (D-VA), Albio Sires (D-NJ), Vernon Ehlers (R-MI), Judy Biggert (R-IL), and Carolyn Maloney (D-NY).

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