The loss of forests, fresh water and fertile soil — and the resulting competition for these increasingly scarce resources — can lead to instability, conflict, radicalization and, in the worst cases, failed states.
What are the issues?
Wildlife trafficking is an illicit US$ 10 billion global enterprise. Money from wildlife poaching and trafficking is directly linked to the funding of dangerous rebel organizations and terrorist networks, including the Janjaweed militia in Darfur and the Lord's Resistance Army in Uganda.
More than 1.2 billion people currently live in areas with scarce water supplies. A recent assessment by the U.S. intelligence community predicts that future water shortages will likely cause declines in food production and threaten livelihoods.
The U.S. National Intelligence Council predicts that global food demand will grow by 35% by 2030. But the world’s agricultural productivity and food security are in jeopardy from threats including water depletion, soil erosion and the loss of pollinators.
Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing practices account for more than 11 million metric tons of fish catch — with a market value of more than US$ 10 billion — each year. The illegal timber trade is estimated to generate at least US$ 11 billion in annual revenue for organized crime. These practices create unfair market competition for law-abiding workers while also decimating forests and marine life.
Conservation International’s Direct Connection initiative works to raise awareness of nature’s vital role in improving human well-being. The initiative focuses on educating government and private sector leaders about the importance of natural resources and inspiring actions that contribute to the sustainable management of those resources. The program’s outreach efforts focus on the direct connection between international conservation, resource scarcity and U.S. economic and national security interests.
© CI/photo by Jill Sigal
© Jon McCormack
Look for the logos of the Forest Stewardship Council and the Marine Stewardship Council when shopping for wood and seafood products.