Conservation, Health Organizations Unite in Urgent Appeal for Federal Biodiversity Strategy

Full Page Letter to the Biden Administration in New York Times Urges Immediate Action to Protect Nature and Prevent Pandemics

(Washington, D.C. – February 23, 2022) – In response to the escalating biodiversity crisis and the need to address critical issues including climate change, the prevention of future pandemics, and improving overall global health security, a diverse coalition of organizations is urging the Biden Administration to prioritize conservation through the creation of a comprehensive national biodiversity strategy.

The full-page letter, published on February 23rd in the New York Times and supported additionally through ProtectBiodiversity.org, is part of a multi-organizational effort to mobilize a whole-of-government, ‘nature first’ approach. Such an approach would account for the fundamental role biodiversity plays within the realm of public health and the global economy and encourage all tiers of government to ensure the protection and restoration of nature’s biodiversity.

Recognizing biodiversity – the full mix of species on Earth – as fundamental to the natural systems that support clean air, drinkable water, medicines, and food, the letter calls on the Administration to prioritize biodiversity protection as it prioritizes other fundamentals including public health and the economy. It notes that biodiversity serves as a natural barrier against many diseases, including those that can potentially turn into a full-blown pandemic, and can also lessen the impacts of climate change.

Worldwide, 193 countries have developed forms of a national biodiversity strategy. The U.S. however, not only lacks such a strategy, but also a comprehensive and coordinated approach to tackling the five main drivers of the biodiversity crisis: habitat loss, direct exploitation of species, climate change, pollution, and invasive species. Implementing a biodiversity strategy would play a fundamental role in preventing species extinction and the collapse of ecosystems while helping to address the escalating threats that reduced biodiversity poses to our health, security and overall well-being. 

“We urge the Biden Administration to heed this united call to create a comprehensive biodiversity strategy,” said Azzedine Downes, President and CEO of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). “This public, collective effort on behalf of such a diverse coalition of organizations representing human, animal, and environmental health and wellbeing demonstrates how fundamental the safeguarding of biodiversity is to ensuring the robust health and security of communities in the United States and around the world from here onward.” 

Contributors to the outreach effort include the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), Conservation X Labs, Defenders of Wildlife, Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, Health In Harmony, Jane Goodall Institute, Preventing Pandemics at the Source, the U.S. Wildlife & Health Alliance, Animal Defenders International, Endangered Species Coalition, FOUR PAWS USA, Humane Society Legislative Fund, Management Sciences for Health, Marked By COVID, One Health Lessons, OneNature Institute, The Humane Society of the United States, United Plant Savers, and WildEarth Guardians. 

To read the letter to the Biden Administration and to take action now, visit ProtectBiodiversity.org

About IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare)

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) is a global non-profit helping animals and people thrive together. We are experts and everyday people, working across seas, oceans, and in more than 40 countries around the world. We rescue, rehabilitate, and release animals, and we restore and protect their natural habitats. The problems we’re up against are urgent and complicated. To solve them, we match fresh thinking with bold action. We partner with local communities, governments, non-governmental organizations, and businesses. Together, we pioneer new and innovative ways to help all species flourish. See how at ifaw.org.

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