Working with USAID


usaid chart

Less than 1% of the United States’ federal budget goes to foreign aid

Foreign assistance funding, which includes resources for international conservation, embodies the compassion of the American people and transforms lives around the world. Founded in 1961 under the leadership of President John F. Kennedy, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) recognizes that by investing in the environment abroad, we’re creating a more secure and healthier future here at home.

For decades, WWF and USAID have partnered to launch innovative biodiversity conservation projects that serve as a cornerstone of international development. Protecting vital habitats and working with communities to employ sustainable practices can translate to increased incomes, improved livelihoods, fewer instances of disease and malnutrition, gender equality, and better managed and more accessible natural resources.

And all these benefits make up less than 1% of the US federal budget.

From protecting snow leopards in Asia’s High Mountains to improving women’s access to natural resources in Central Africa, these innovative joint projects have seeded the opportunity for WWF to test measures in order to scale up conservation using a local-to-global approach, linking site conservation to national, regional, and global markets and policy interventions.

Together, WWF and USAID continue to seek new and effective ways to protect nature and integrate social and governance strategies in our actions. 

Investing in conservation abroad can make the world more stable. Here's how.

US investment plays a critical role in helping developing nations build resilience to extreme weather and sustainably manage their wildlife and natural resources.
Chad fisherman

Why It Matters

  • Securing a future for nature

    USAID supports WWF teams on the ground at a variety of project sites in Africa, Asia, and South America. These programs help protect some of the largest and most at-risk natural landscapes, and safeguard vulnerable wildlife for generations to come.

  • Improving livelihoods

    Millions of people around the world depend directly on natural resources for their survival and economic growth. By maintaining and restoring the natural resources that supply fertile soil, clean water, food, and medicine, USAID-funded programs play an important role in helping communities thrive.

  • Celebrating our American identity

    For more than 50 years, USAID has provided assistance to foreign countries to promote social and economic development. This spirit of progress and innovation is a hallmark of our identity as Americans, and helps build a more stable, prosperous world.

What WWF Is Doing


USAID’s Central Africa Regional Program for the Environment (CARPE) is working to protect the tropical forest ecosystems of the Congo Basin by promoting sustainable management practices and conservation. As one of a consortium of CARPE partners, WWF works primarily in four landscapes of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to reduce threats to forests and biodiversitysupporting efforts to combat poaching and helping communities grow and generate income while protecting their natural resources.

WWF is working in the Mai Ndombe region of the Democratic Republic of Congo to build community engagement in reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, also known as REDD+. Our aim, in collaboration with communities and governments, is


Image representing TNRC's four focus areas: wildlife, fisheries, forests, and finance

Corruption undermines global development and biodiversity conservation. It distorts good governance, undermines the sound management of natural resources, facilitates environmental crime and illegal trade, and drives resources away from the public good and into private hands. Targeting Natural Resource Corruption (TNRC) is a USAID-funded project to improve biodiversity outcomes by helping practitioners to address the threats posed by corruption to wildlife, fisheries, and forests.

TNRC is implemented by a consortium of leading organizations in anti-corruption, natural resource management, and conservation: World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre at the Chr. Michelsen Institute, TRAFFIC, and the Terrorism, Transnational Crime and Corruption Center (TraCCC) at George Mason University.


Hariyo Ban began as a five-year USAID funded program with the goal of reducing threats to biodiversity and vulnerability to climate change in Nepal. A second five-year phase, also funded by USAID, started recently, with the goal of increased ecosystem and community resilience in the Chitwan-Annapurna Landscape and the Terai Arc Landscape. The program is led by the Government of Nepal and implemented by WWF, CARE Nepal, National Trust for Nature Conservation, and the Federation of Community Forest Users Nepal. Hariyo Ban is one of the country’s largest conservation, development, and climate change programs. The program partners with local community groups, government agencies, NGOs, and the private sector to build capacity and promote strategic approaches for biodiversity conservation, climate mitigation, and adaptation.


snow leopard crouching

In October 2012, WWF launched the USAID-funded Conservation and Adaptation in Asia’s High Mountain Landscapes and Communities project to promote conservation of snow leopards and their habitat; improve water security; design and implement community climate resilience strategies; and foster sustainable natural resource management and development at local, national, and regional levels in snow leopard range areas.

By both working in Asia’s high mountain communities and influencing policy that governs natural resource management, we hope to safeguard a future where both people and biodiversity can thrive.


With USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), WWF developed the Natural and Nature-Based Flood Management: A Green Guide (Flood Green Guide) and is currently creating a training curriculum to support local communities around the world, in using natural and nature-based methods for flood risk management. Globally, flooding is the most common disaster risk and that risk is growing with more people in harm’s way as cities grow larger and rainstorms become more intense. Managing floods with a balanced combination of policy, planning, and governance approaches, as well as natural and nature-based methods, can reduce costs while maximizing co-benefits for people and the environment. 


In Namibia, WWF worked with USAID and several local partners on the Living in a Finite Environment (LIFE) Project to establish and promote community-based approaches to wildlife conservation that help local people and wildlife populations. This includes establishing communal conservancies and fostering understanding of the value of a community’s wildlife assets. The LIFE project worked to establish conservancies and build capacity to protect and even reintroduce wildlife species, establish livelihoods such as managing campsites, and make and market crafts. As a result, local residents have more economic opportunities, poaching losses are reduced, and there is greater stewardship of land and wildlife.


WWF is working in the Mai Ndombe region of the Democratic Republic of Congo to build community engagement in reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, also known as REDD+. Our aim, in collaboration with communities and governments, is

WWF and USAID collaborated in three landscapes to address priority threats and strengthen local capacity to conserve biodiversity as part of the Sustainable Conservation Approaches in Priority Ecosystems (SCAPES) program:

Ruvuma Landscape, Mozambique and Tanzania – WWF teamed up with CARE to unite the two countries on transboundary conservation issues; promote community-based natural resource management; and help communities and governments adapt to climate change.

Eastern Cordillera Real Landscape, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru – WWF engaged with farmers and local conservation officials to create new land-use and development plans that minimized the fragmentation of forests.

Sacred Himalayan Landscape, India and Nepal – WWF and CARE worked with community-based organizations and forest user groups to improve pasture and natural resource management and expand alternative livelihoods, reducing pressure on the landscape.


solomon island survey

In 2009, the six governments of the Coral Triangle region committed to safeguard their marine resources and ensure income and food security for the millions of people who depend on them. With funding from USAID, WWF, Conservation International, and The Nature Conservancy worked together to support the governments. This Coral Triangle Support Partnership focused on policy, fisheries management, marine protected areas and climate change adaptation.


  • Hariyo Ban: Mitigating and adapting to climate change in Nepal

    A 10-year program called Hariyo Ban partners with local community groups, government agencies, NGOs and the private sector to build capacity and promote strategic approaches for biodiversity conservation, climate mitigation and adaptation in Nepal.

  • Third Pole GeoLab

    WWF developed and launched Third Pole GeoLab, an interactive web-based tool and database for snow leopard conservation, climate change, and water security issues in Asia’s high mountains, as part of our USAID-funded project, Conservation and Adaptation in Asia’s High Mountain Communities and Landscapes.

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