WWF Statement on National Defense Authorization Act

Today Congress passed a suite of global conservation measures as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) including legislation to renew the END Wildlife Trafficking Act and the Tropical Forest and Coral Reef Conservation Act, and to address the intersecting issues of Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) fishing and forced labor. These measures will bolster U.S. government efforts to prevent illegal trade in wildlife and seafood and to conserve critical wildlife populations and ecosystems, including forests and coral reefs.

Several Members of Congress worked to champion these conservation bills and ensure their inclusion in the legislation passed today, including Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Chris Coons (D-DE), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), and Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Representatives Buddy Carter (R-GA), Grace Meng (D-NY), John Garamendi (D-CA), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), and Mike Gallagher (R-WI).

In response, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) issued the following statement from Alejandro Pérez, senior vice president, policy and government affairs:

“The inclusion of these provisions in the NDAA is a recognition of the significant impacts that illegal trade and overexploitation of natural resources can have on Americans' economic and security interests. Trafficking in wildlife, timber, and fish are transnational organized crimes worth tens of billions of dollars a year that help finance criminal networks and undermine law-abiding businesses in the forest and seafood sectors.

“By ensuring legal and sustainable trade and helping to conserve the developing world’s richest and most biodiverse landscapes and seascapes, this legislation will support U.S. efforts to promote stability and improve the livelihoods of local communities.

“This set of wins for forests, oceans, and wildlife demonstrates once again strong bipartisan support for conservation and the importance that nature must play in ensuring a secure and prosperous future for people as well as the planet.”