Tropical rainforest and river at Selangor State

Center for Global Policy and Government Affairs

Developing policies and resources to conserve healthy ecosystems for the benefit of all people


Our lives are inextricably linked to the health of our planet. Policy frameworks set the rules and incentives for how individuals, governments and the private sector behave — with important implications for people and the planet.

Conservation International's Global Policy and Government Affairs team engages with all levels of government to promote solutions that protect people and nature. We build on our more than 30 years of scientific knowledge, practical experience, and technical and financing expertise to form partnerships with governments, businesses and communities. Together, we develop innovative strategies to better protect ecosystems, while guiding policy and investment decisions to implement these strategies around the world.

Our role

We are a trusted advisor

We act as a trusted advisor to local, national and global decision-makers, providing the data, tools and counsel needed to better protect healthy ecosystems at a large scale.

We recommend policy and investment solutions that are informed by sound science, local understanding and innovative projects that are tested in communities and ecosystems.

We find solutions and achieve consensus on critical issues by working with lawmakers across the political spectrum.

We are champions for nature

Conservation International influences global policies, priorities and public funding decisions that impact nature around the world.

We amplify our results and those of our partners by helping to create policies and secure funding for nature — and the role it plays in creating healthy, prosperous societies.

Our approach


Indigenous peoples’ and local communities’ knowledge and traditional practices are critical to implementing climate change solutions and conserving ecosystem services. Conservation International partners with Indigenous peoples and local communities to ensure their full and effective participation in national and international policy dialogues and planning processes.

We also work with municipal and state governments to prioritize nature in their economic growth policies.

Learn more about CI’s work with indigenous communities »


Through our technical guidance, training workshops and other community engagement, Conservation International and partners build knowledge and capacity to inform and guide long-term national policies and development discussions.

Learn more about our work on US Policy »

Learn more about our work on European Policy »

Learn more about Conservation International's Policy Exchange Program with Costa Rica »


Conservation International’s policy experts and scientists engage with international organizations to promote action in a wide range of key areas — from ocean conservation to land-use reform. We leverage field experience and scientific expertise to provide policy and technical advice to decision makers in preparation for and during United Nations processes.

Learn more about CI’s positions and engagement in the UN Climate Negotiations »

Learn more about CI’s positions and engagement in the UN Biodiversity Negotiations »

Our priorities

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon; Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of UNFCCC; Laurent Fabius, Minister for Foreign Affairs of France and President of the COP21 and Francois Hollande, President of France
© UN Photo/Mark Garten/Flickr Creative Commons

Climate policy

Conservation International works to equip decision-makers with accessible policy-relevant science to restore and protect critical ecosystems as part of global climate action. Natural climate solutions — actions that conserve, restore or improve the use or management of ecosystems, while increasing carbon storage and/or avoiding greenhouse gas emissions — are essential if the world is to limit global temperate rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius, in line with the goals of the U.N. Paris Agreement.

We work with governments at the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change to advance the role of nature in implementing the Paris Agreement — from nature’s contribution to national climate targets to the creation of pricing policies and incentives through global carbon markets. Learn more about CI’s positions and engagement in the UN Climate Negotiations »

Conservation International and partners have published a “Guide for Including Nature in Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs)” to help countries incorporate natural climate solutions as part of their national climate goals, known as Nationally Determined Contributions, under the Paris Agreement. We have also developed “Guidelines on Enhanced Action: A guide on how countries may include blue carbon in their Nationally Determined Contributions” to help countries promote and preserve the benefits of coastal ecosystems with a how-to resource on incorporating blue carbon in their NDCs. Learn more about CI’s Climate Policy work »

© TommL/istockphoto

Biodiversity policy

Conservation International works to inform global and national policies that promote the conservation, restoration and sustainable management of biodiversity.

In 2022, countries came together under the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity to adopt new global goals and targets that protect biodiversity and the life support systems that underpin human well-being and defend against climate catastrophe. Conservation International worked with governments and partners to shape the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF), ensuring that it reflected an increase in overall ambition to protect areas that are essential to human well-being and that there was adequate financing to back the framework. Learn more about CI’s positions and engagement in the UN Biodiversity Negotiations »

Conservation International is now working with governments to support the implementation of the GBF by aligning countries’ National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plans (NBSAPs) with the ambitious goals of the new framework. We are contributing technical and scientific input focused on:

  • Advancing the climate-biodiversity nexus by prioritizing high carbon ecosystems
  • Linking protection and production in order to promote a nature-positive economy
  • Ensuring the full participation of Indigenous peoples and local communities in the NBSAP process and advocating for a rights-based approach for implementation

Learn more about Conservation International’s Biodiversity Policy work »

© Conservation International/photo by Tim Noviello

Oceans policy

To ensure the long-term health of the marine ecosystems on which humanity depends, we must massively accelerate conservation, restoration and protection of our ocean and coastal ecosystems through effective management and governance.

Conservation International works to advance ocean-related priorities at the local, national and global levels to achieve the goal of conserving at least 30 percent of the ocean by 2030 and sustainably manage marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction. We are actively driving ocean-climate policy to integrate priority ocean issues into the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change. Conservation International also continues to engage with governments, regional groups and partners to support the implementation of the new international legally binding instrument under the UN Convention for the Law of the Sea for the conservation and sustainable development of marine biological diversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction.

Conservation International's ocean policy supports the goal of conserving 18 million square kilometers of ocean by 2025. Our work helps:

  • Increase the rate at which coastal “blue carbon” ecosystems are conserved and restored through the nationally determined contributions of the U.N. Framework on Climate Change, the Ramsar Convention and other international accords;
  • Promote resilient coastlines with policies that incentivize the use of both natural and manufactured infrastructure — known as green-gray infrastructure — to protect communities from storms and flooding, and improve watersheds;
  • Reduce threats to the ocean (including those posed by the impacts of climate change and the potential impacts of deep-sea mining) by influencing relevant international policies; and
  • Conserve and sustainably manage marine resources while respecting the rights of Indigenous peoples.
© Trond Larsen

Sustainable development policy

Conservation International had a significant impact on the formulation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) — ensuring that nature’s role in supporting human well-being was integrated into the goals. We now focus on supporting their implementation and monitoring by helping countries identify the ecosystems they most need to maintain to achieve various aspects of the SDGs, and which policies they need to do so. This is closely linked to our work in supporting the formulation of national and global biodiversity and climate policies.

© Alissa Everett/Alamy Stock Photo

Pandemic prevention policy

Emerging infectious diseases are those that are new or that are known but which are spreading more widely. These diseases have been increasing globally since at least the 1940s and include COVID, Ebola, HIV, SARS, anthrax and mpox.

The pathogens that cause most emerging infectious diseases originate in animals and then “spillover” into humans because of activities such as deforestation and wildlife trade that place humans in close contact with animals.

Emerging infectious diseases have a massive toll on lives, national security and economic wellbeing. Research shows they will continue to occur, and once-in-a-century pandemics will become more frequent in the coming years unless investments are made into reversing the underlying drivers of pathogen spillover (e.g., deforestation, wildlife trade).

These underlying drivers can be managed with approximately $20 billion dollars a year. Preventing a pandemic even before it starts brings massive return on investment compared to the trillions of dollars lost once a pandemic is unleashed — and also saves countless lives.

Conservation International’s Policy Team works with partner organizations to get policy-makers to increase investments in pandemic prevention.


Our tactics

Group photo of participants at a community engagement meeting in Bahnlah, Liberia
© CI/photo by Bailey Evans

Working with governments

We convene and build relationships with — and between — communities, businesses, multilateral and bilateral institutions, and governments to design, fund and implement transformational global conservation initiatives.


Using nature to reduce emissions

Conservation International is a pioneer in finding new ways to protect critical ecosystems like tropical rainforests and mangroves — both for their ability to store climate-heating carbon and for the benefits they provide for people. With REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation), Conservation International is helping design and carry out projects that conserve and protect forests, keeping carbon out of the atmosphere — while benefiting communities that rely on forests for their livelihoods.

Aerial View of Rainforest
© Pete Oxford/iLCP

Adapting to a changing climate

Around the world, many communities are already struggling to cope with the impacts of climate change. Conservation International and our partners help these communities face the challenges posed by rising sea levels, severe storms and more frequent flooding. Our work helps to identify cost-effective solutions that deliver long-term results.