Sponsor(s): Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH)
S. 1005 creates a comprehensive plan for addressing pressing conservation issues around the world, including wildlife trade and illegal poaching. The purpose of this bill is to ensure that we preserve Earth’s limited resources (and species), and also to bolster U.S. security, which is threatened by terrorist groups that fund their activities through wildlife trafficking.
In particular, this bill:Mandates a study of existing U.S. international conservation programs to determine the extent to which they are achieving objectives.
Mandates a Government Accountability Office audit and report of existing conservation agencies, including recommendations on how to improve their efforts.
President will establish the Interagency Working Group on International Conservation, which will include the participation of the executive branch agencies that affect, oversee, or implement programs for international conservation activities.
This Working Group will identify innovative conservation projects, policies, and initiatives that contribute to achieving multiple foreign policy goals simultaneously, including: addressing poaching, unlawful fishing, illegal logging, and wildlife trafficking.
Within 2 years, the President, acting through Working Group, will establish and submit to the appropriate congressional committees the ‘‘International Conservation Strategy’’ to strengthen the conservation capacity and provide a plan of action for issues including poaching and unlawful wildlife trafficking operations. The Strategy will be revised every 4 years.
Establish a International Conservation Public Advisory Board to advise the Working Group on matters related to the international conservation policies and programs of the United States and the development and implementation of the Strategy, and to ensure that the best scientific, policy, economic security, and business expertise are reflected in these international conservation strategies and policies.
Encourages diplomacy and cooperation with other major foreign assistance donor countries.
The sponsor, Senator Portman, penned an op-ed for CNN outlining one of the key motivations behind this bill – the ivory trade that is driving elephants to the brink of extinction. He says that, “Stopping the ivory trade has become not only a matter of conservation but one of national security and international stability,” and the bill “would streamline and increase the effectiveness of our existing international conservation efforts.”
Read more about Born Free USA's international wildlife trade campaign here.
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Read the full text and track its progress here.