WASHINGTON, D.C., March 21, 2024—As the US House Foreign Affairs Committee today moved forward out of committee legislation that includes the US Foundation for International Conservation Act (USFICA), WCS released the following statement by Executive Vice President for Public Affairs John Calvelli:

“The Wildlife Conservation Society applauds House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Michael Thomas McCaul and Ranking Member Gregory W. Meeks for their leadership in advancing the U.S. Foundation for International Conservation Act, HR 6727.

“USFICA would create a public-private partnership to save wildlife and wild places around the world. What that means is government funds would leverage private support, making those public dollars go much farther. And those monies would go directly to protected areas and parks around the world to help set up their management structures to provide resources on the ground.

“The 34 cosponsors on the House bill are a testament to the bipartisan nature of the legislation and demonstrate support for this critical international conservation policy from stakeholders across the country.

“USFICA would incentivize philanthropic giving to match government funds which provide long-term, predictable funding for core protected area management programs such as management costs, leadership skill training, and development of tourism strategies.

“Too often, we talk about how these parks are created, and then what? Well, this is the ‘then what.’ The bill would ensure these strongholds of biodiversity provide economic, environmental, social, and cultural benefits both locally and globally. Well-managed protected areas provide employment, health and education services to a significant number of households in the local communities and support initiatives that value the lifeways of Indigenous Peoples.

“As the largest global conservation organization working on the ground in more than 50 countries, we know first-hand the power that public-private partnerships play in supporting people and nature.

“WCS, which runs New York City’s Bronx Zoo, New York Aquarium, Central Park Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo, and Queens Zoo, has been proud to collaborate with our partners in the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) to encourage support for the bill from congressional cosponsors who represent their facilities.

(The next steps for the legislation as it advances to become law are securing passage in the U.S. House of Representatives; Senate committee consideration; passage by the Senate chamber; and White House signing it into law.)

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