Press Release

Another Win as U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Advances Bipartisan Bill for International Conservation

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WASHINGTON, D.C., April 16, 2024 — Today marks another significant victory in the ongoing efforts for global conservation as the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee mirrors progress by the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee to propel the U.S. Foundation for International Conservation Act (USFICA) forward. This pivotal legislation opens doors to innovative public-private partnerships aimed at the sustainable management of protected areas worldwide. 

Reflecting on this momentous stride, Kaddu Sebunya, CEO of the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF), shares, "The African Wildlife Foundation extends its heartfelt appreciation to lead sponsors Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) for their steadfast dedication to advancing the U.S. Foundation for International Conservation Act, S. 618. Additionally, AWF commends the Senate Foreign Relations Committee members for their bipartisan and collaborative efforts in championing this critical legislation. This initiative is crucial in ensuring that these biodiversity-rich ecosystems continue to yield economic, environmental, social, and cultural benefits locally and globally.” 

USFICA represents the innovative financing mechanism essential for addressing the pressing needs of the global conservation landscape. It is abundantly clear that traditional government funding alone cannot meet our planet's challenges. USFICA establishes a robust financial framework to effectively manage Protected and Conserved Areas (PCAs) by incentivizing and leveraging philanthropic contributions alongside U.S. government financing. The establishment of the Foundation represents a significant leap forward in global conservation efforts, complementing traditional U.S. foreign assistance to biodiversity conservation.

PCAs across the globe, particularly in Africa and other developing regions, are not mere habitats; they are vibrant ecosystems teeming with life. These areas are vital in conserving biodiversity and essential economic engines for local communities. Sustainable tourism and other natural resource activities surrounding these areas provide livelihoods, bolster economies, and fuel national growth. However, the looming threat of inadequate and uncertain funding jeopardizes these ecosystems. Without stable financial support, protected areas struggle to maintain infrastructure, combat poaching and encroachment, and address human-wildlife conflicts.

The road ahead involves navigating the legislative process, including securing passage in the full Senate, consideration by the House of Representatives, and ultimately, the White House signing it into law. AWF remains committed to supporting these efforts and urges all stakeholders to unite in this vital endeavor.

>Tell Congress: Be a Champion for Africa’s Iconic Species and Essential Ecosystems