Tropical rainforest and river at Selangor State

Center for Global Policy and Government Affairs

Enacting better policies and resources to conserve, strengthen and maintain healthy ecosystems for the shared 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 both 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 upon 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, and we influence 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 a champion for nature

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

We amplify our results and those of our partners by helping to create better policies and more funding that support 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 decisionmakers 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 UN Paris Agreement.

We work with governments at the UN 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 2021, countries will come together under the UN Convention on Biological Diversity to develop new global goals on biodiversity that will be implemented over the next decade, with the objective of promoting a healthy planet and human well-being. This effort, known as the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, will replace and update previous global goals for biodiversity created in 2010. Conservation International is actively working with governments and partners to shape the development of this framework to reverse biodiversity loss, ensure that areas essential to human wellbeing are kept healthy and reduce spending on activities that are harmful to nature. Learn more about CI’s priorities for the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework »


© Conservation International/photo by Tim Noviello

Oceans policy

To ensure the long-term health of 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 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Conservation International is also engaged in the adoption of a new high seas treaty at the next intergovernmental conference with the aim of developing a 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. We are collaborating with governments, regional groups, and partners in support of this effort.

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

  • Increase the rate at which coastal “blue carbon” ecosystems are conserved and restored through the nationally determined contributions of the UN 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. Learn more about the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals »


© Alissa Everett/Alamy Stock Photo

Pandemic prevention policy

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

Most EIDs originate from animals and then “spillover” from animals into humans because of activities such as deforestation and wildlife trafficking that place humans in close contact with animals.

EIDs have a massive toll on American lives, national security, and economic wellbeing, among other concerns. EIDs 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 and wildlife trafficking).

With as little as $22 billion dollars per year, these underlying drivers can be managed thus potentially preventing a pandemic before it starts, which will bring massive return on investment compared to the trillions of dollars lost once a pandemic is unleashed (plus the tragic toll on lost human lives).

The CI Policy Team is therefore working with partner organizations to get policy makers to increase federal investment in preventing pandemics at the source.


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 ways to help keep carbon stored in natural ecosystems. For example, we’re discovering new ways to protect places like tropical rainforests and mangroves — not just for their climate value, but also for the benefits they give to 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 and 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 find cost-effective solutions that deliver long-term results.