Global Conservation Leaders Call on Congress to Reject Cuts to US Foreign Assistance

The FY2018 Presidential budget request would dramatically reduce funding for US foreign assistance. If enacted, this 32% reduction would result in devastating cuts to crucial development assistance and the elimination of programs that help countries conserve their natural resources and protect their imperiled wildlife. These investments are essential to help stabilize at-risk nations, combat transnational organized crime including wildlife trafficking, and support our own security and prosperity here at home.

As three of the world’s largest international conservation organizations, The Nature Conservancy (TNC), Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) call on Congress to protect our country’s investments in foreign assistance and to adopt a budget that continues to support our nation’s legacy of global conservation and humanitarian leadership.

“For less than a penny on the dollar of federal spending, foreign assistance delivers exponential returns for our national security and economic growth. Our country’s longstanding support for conservation and sustainable development helps protect the natural resources on which we all depend. These cuts will turn back the clock on advances made in combating common global challenges like food and water security, wildlife trafficking, and climate change. We urge Congress to pass a budget that protects these investments and more closely aligns with America’s long-held humanitarian and conservation values.” – Carter Roberts, President and CEO, World Wildlife Fund

“American security and global leadership depends on equal parts defense, diplomacy and development; without strong support for all three, the world is a more dangerous place. Development assistance, through efforts to improve lives, enhance good governance and support law enforcement for issues like wildlife trafficking is key to a safe, prosperous and healthy planet and I encourage Congress to fully support such measures.” – Cristián Samper, President and CEO, Wildlife Conservation Society

“American investments in international conservation support sustainable livelihoods, political stability and good governance in difficult regions of the world—thereby supporting our own national security and economic objectives. Pulling back on these investments would be costly. Conserving land and ensuring healthy lands and water and clean air avoid costly clean up later, and help ensure resilient communities. We ask Congress to embrace a budget that advances the interconnected goals of security, prosperity, and the environment. We are grateful for many years of congressional support, and believe we can solidify and build upon our country’s legacy of leadership on international conservation by ensuring strong funding to protect land, water and air for people and nature.” Mark Tercek, President & CEO, The Nature Conservancy

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About The Nature Conservancy

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at unprecedented scale, and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in more than 65 countries, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit or follow @nature_press on Twitter.

About Wildlife Conservation Society

WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. To achieve our mission, WCS, based at the Bronx Zoo, harnesses the power of its Global Conservation Program in nearly 60 nations and in all the world’s oceans and its five wildlife parks in New York City, visited by 4 million people annually. WCS combines its expertise in the field, zoos, and aquarium to achieve its conservation mission. Visit: Follow: @WCSNewsroom. For more information: 347-840-1242.

About World Wildlife Fund

WWF is one of the world’s leading conservation organizations, working in 100 countries for over half a century. With the support of almost 5 million members worldwide, WWF is dedicated to delivering science-based solutions to preserve the diversity and abundance of life on Earth, halt the degradation of the environment and combat climate change. Visit to learn more and keep up with the latest conservation news by following @WWFNews on Twitter.


Heather Layman, The Nature Conservancy, 703-841-3929
Chip Weiskotten, Wildlife Conservation Society, 202-347-0672 x25
Christopher Conner, World Wildlife Fund, 202-495-4786


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