U.S. Economic Security
U.S. National Security
Many international conservation programs are directly connected to U.S. economic and national security interests. The following programs focus on protecting and restoring ecosystems, and stopping the illegal extraction of natural resources.
Development Assistance — USAID
Development Assistance (DA) is used to achieve longer-term U.S. foreign policy objectives, such as sustainable development and democratic reform. DA international conservation programs are located in regions that are of strategic importance to the U.S. Below are examples of DA initiatives that are enhancing U.S. economic and national security interests.
Photo: Sulu-Sulawesi seascape, Coral Triangle.
Coral Triangle Initiative (CTI)
© CI/photo by Sterling Zumbrunn
The CTI is a large-scale conservation program in the world's most biologically diverse marine region. Sometimes referred to as the "Amazon of the Seas," the Coral Triangle is a geographical term named for the roughly triangular area of tropical marine waters of Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste. The CTI promotes sustainable fisheries and coastal resource management programs through improved regional coordination, capacity and enforcement. Through the CTI, the United States, along with other governments and partners, are working together to provide resources that directly sustain the lives of more than 120 million people living in the region. The U.S. has important economic, commercial and security interests in the Coral Triangle due to the region's strategic location astride a number of key international maritime straits.
- The sustainable management of international fisheries is essential to U.S. national security and economic competitiveness. In 2010, imports made up 86 percent of the seafood eaten in the United States. A significant proportion of U.S. imported seafood originates from marine fisheries in Southeast Asia, such as the Coral Triangle.
- Illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing, as well as unsustainable fishing methods in the Coral Triangle, undermine U.S. fishing industries and threaten U.S. food security.
Photo: Aerial view of forests in Papua, Indonesia.
© CI/photo by Bruce Beehler
The sustainable landscapes program focuses on mitigating the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation in some of the largest and most biologically diverse tropical forests in the world. Forests cover 30 percent of the planet's land area and directly sustain the livelihoods of 1.6 billion people worldwide.
According to the U.S. National Cancer Institute, 70 percent of the plants identified as having anti-cancer characteristics are found only in tropical forests. Reducing deforestation through sustainable management practices is vital to protecting the essential goods and services that these ecosystems provide for Americans and people around the world.
- Under this program, USAID has created the Sustainable Landscapes Partnership (SLP) to bring together the private and public sectors to help implement large-scale sustainable forest projects in Africa, Asia and South America.
- The first SLP is a collaboration between USAID, the Walton Family Foundation, the Government of Indonesia and Conservation International to reduce deforestation and improve land use polices for the sustainable management of forest resources in Indonesia, which has lost 80 percent of its forests to rubber, oil palm, and pulp plantations.
Photo: Deforestation in DRC.
Central African Regional Program for the Environment (CARPE)
© CI/photo by Olaf Zerbock
CARPE addresses deforestation and promotes sustainable natural resource management in Africa's Congo Basin. Several factors, including timber and mineral extraction, land clearing for agriculture, and weak governance, contribute to unsustainable deforestation in the region.
CARPE strengthens governance in central Africa and empowers local communities to responsibly and sustainably manage their natural resources.
- Using remote sensing technology, resource managers in some areas are able to monitor illegal logging, track deforestation and verify whether loggers are limiting operations to their legally constituted boundaries.
Global Environment Facility (GEF)
The Global Environment Facility (GEF) is a partnership of 182 countries that works with the private sector, international institutions and nongovernmental organizations to fund international conservation. Many of the GEF programs directly benefit the economic and national security interests of the United States by protecting ecosystems and the goods and services they provide to people.
- According to the GEF, for every U.S. dollar invested, an additional $52 dollars is leveraged from other countries and sources.
- The GEF's sustainable forest management projects support efforts to stop illegal logging.
- U.S. companies, such as Dupont, General Electric, Chrysler, Dow Chemical and others, have been direct beneficiaries of GEF projects by winning more than $10 million annually in procurement awards.
- GEF projects pave the way for additional U.S. clean energy and waste management exports in growing global markets such as China, India and Brazil.
- A significant portion of GEF-supported chemical disposal projects are conducted in the U.S., further supporting America's manufacturing sector.