Support the US Foundation for International Conservation Act

A group of women cross a river in the forest on their way to work in Bardia, Nepal

Nature is under increasing threat.

We need to mobilize significant new resources to meet the formidable challenges we face. Governments, philanthropists and the private sector all have a role to play. But how do we close the gap?

That’s where the US Foundation for International Conservation Act comes in.

This legislation, which Congress is currently considering, would establish a new foundation entity to help advance the long-term protection of critical landscapes and seascapes. Through the Foundation, US government funds would be leveraged to bring in additional investments from private and philanthropic donors to support conservation efforts in developing countries – including those led by Indigenous Peoples and local communities.

By bringing additional resources to the table to ensure the effective management of protected and conserved areas and the natural resources they provide, the Foundation will help prevent biodiversity loss while also promoting regional stability and international security. The bill to create it is backed by Members of Congress in both parties, environmental nonprofits, major philanthropists and more.

Together, we can protect our planet and the people who depend on it.

  • 69% decline in wildlife species

    The average decline in wildlife species populations since 1970, according to WWF’s most recent Living Planet Report.

  • $100 million per year

    The US government funding authorized by the bill for conservation projects around the world.

  • 2:1 match

    Every $1 of federal funds would be matched with $2 of private funds for approved projects.

Bipartisan Momentum in Congress

The US Foundation for International Conservation Act has now advanced with bipartisan majorities in the House Foreign Affairs and Senate Foreign Relations Committees.

Sens. Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) are the sponsors of the Senate bill, while House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) has introduced a companion bill.

Read our latest statement urging both chambers of Congress to pass this important bill into law.

Why does the US need a new entity for public-private partnerships for global conservation projects?

Halting species extinction and habitat degradation will require strong commitments from governments, nonprofits and the private sector. The proposed US Foundation for International Conservation would help maximize the return on donors’ investment with a 2:1 match of private funds for every dollar provided by the federal government.

There’s also a national security imperative for the US to promote regional stability in developing countries, which are home to some of the world’s most diverse ecosystems and often heavily reliant on their natural resources for their prosperity and economic growth. By investing in conservation in these places, the US is not only protecting nature and the livelihoods of local communities. It is also promoting regional food and water security and ensuring sustainable supply chains for US companies.

In this way, effective conservation investments can also help advance the US government’s strategic priorities and prevent the rise of instability and future conflicts. After all, natural security is national security.

Would the grants from the Foundation last for a long time?

The US Foundation for International Conservation would emphasize projects that are built to last.

Eligible projects would need to demonstrate a focus on supporting transparent and effective long-term management of protected or conserved areas over at least 10 years.

This is in line with sustainable, long-term funding mechanisms championed by WWF, such as the Project Finance for Permanence (PFP) approach that has financed the protection of over 100 million hectares of landscapes and seascapes in countries such as Bhutan, Brazil, Colombia and Peru.

Under PFP initiatives led by WWF, national governments work with local communities, nonprofits, financial institutions, foundations, and individual donors to develop a multi-year plan to manage their protected areas. PFPs secure important policy changes and the funding needed from all sources to meet conservation goals over a defined timeframe of usually a decade or more.

How would project eligibility requirements ensure that conservation efforts benefit local communities?

The US Foundation for International Conservation Act is aligned with WWF's support for inclusive and community-led conservation.

Projects funded by the Foundation grants would need to demonstrate robust local community engagement, including inclusive governance, free, prior, and informed consent and established grievance mechanisms where appropriate.

Approved projects would also be subject to key performance indicators, including the protection of biological diversity and community-based economic growth measures, such as improved land tenure and sufficient income from conservation activities directed to local communities.