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Statement from Conservation International on the U.S. State Dept. Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs 2022 Priorities

January 6, 2022

Arlington, VA (Jan. 6, 2022) – Today James Roth, Conservation International’s Senior Vice President of Global Policy and Government Affairs, released the following statement in response to the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs 2022 Cornerstone:

“Conservation International applauds the bold vision for protecting biodiversity that was released by Monica Medina, the Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs at the Department of State. Laying out such an aggressive agenda for 2022 provides motivation and direction for all stakeholders and helps position the United States as a leader at this critical moment.

“Protecting at least 30 percent of land and ocean by 2030 and sustaining the health of humans alongside that of other species will require a transformational shift in our relationship with nature. A cornerstone of that shift will be the conservation of the habitats that threatened species need to survive as well as the places on earth that are most important for supporting human wellbeing, sequestering carbon, regulating water flow and quality and are home to the pollinators we need for food production. Protecting at least 30 percent of the planet is an essential step in avoiding the compounding crises of climate change and biodiversity loss, and to make the most of that effort the global community must focus on key places that are important for human wellbeing and other species.

"Meaningfully addressing zoonotic disease spillover also requires a global effort. Infectious disease emergence has risen around the world since at least the 1940s, resulting in devastating epidemics and pandemics from COVID-19, Ebola, HIV, SARS and novel influenza. Most of the microbes that cause these emerging infectious diseases are zoonotic, meaning that they originate from animals, particularly wildlife, and then “spillover” into humans. The global frequency of these spillovers is accelerating because of the destruction of nature, which leads to increased interactions between humans and wildlife—but the good news is that by fixing our broken relationship with nature, we increase the chances of preventing the next pandemic before it even starts.”

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About Conservation International Conservation International works to protect the critical benefits that nature provides to people. Through science, partnerships and fieldwork, Conservation International is driving innovation and investments in nature-based solutions to the climate crisis, supporting protections for critical habitats, and fostering economic development that is grounded in the conservation of nature. Conservation International works in 30 countries around the world, empowering societies at all levels to create a cleaner, healthier and more sustainable planet. Follow Conservation International's work on Conservation News, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube