Press Release

US House Foreign Affairs Committee Progresses on Bipartisan Bill for International Conservation

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WASHINGTON, D.C., March 25, 2024 — Last Thursday marked a significant step forward in global conservation efforts as the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee advances legislation that includes the groundbreaking U.S. Foundation for International Conservation Act (USFICA). Endorsed by leading conservationists and spearheaded by esteemed lawmakers, this bipartisan bill stands poised to revolutionize international conservation strategies.

AWF applauds the House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Michael Thomas McCaul and Ranking Member Gregory W. Meeks for their unwavering dedication to advancing the U.S. Foundation for International Conservation Act, HR 6727. The bipartisan support demonstrated by the 34 cosponsors of the House bill underscores the critical importance of this legislation.

By incentivizing and catalyzing philanthropic contributions to match U.S. government financing, USFICA will establish a sustainable funding stream to manage protected and conserved areas effectively. This initiative is paramount in ensuring that these bastions of biodiversity continue providing economic, environmental, social, and cultural benefits locally and globally.

In response to this pivotal development, the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) CEO, Kaddu Sebunya, issued the following statement:

"USFICA has the potential to become a cornerstone in the international conservation arena. This can only be successful through the deliberate engagement and prioritization of Indigenous Peoples and  Local Communities, women, and youth. Through collaborative partnerships with governments, civil society, and private entities, we can conserve scientific and traditional knowledge, fostering effective conservation practices and bolstering the resilience of nature, culture, livelihoods, and human well-being.”

The passage of this bill would safeguard biodiversity hotspots and enhance the livelihoods of countless individuals within local communities. Well-managed protected areas serve as engines of economic growth, providing employment, healthcare, and educational services to nearby households while also respecting and valuing the unique lifeways of Indigenous Peoples.

The journey ahead involves navigating the legislative process, including securing endorsements in the U.S. House of Representatives, proceeded by the Senate committee consideration, then passage by the Senate chamber, 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.