S. 3356 (112th): Global Conservation Act of 2012

112th Congress, 2011–2013. Text as of Jun 28, 2012 (Introduced).

Status & Summary | PDF | Source: GPO

II

112th CONGRESS

2d Session

S. 3356

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

June 28, 2012

(for himself, Mr. Udall of New Mexico, Mr. Whitehouse, and Ms. Snowe) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations

A BILL

To strengthen the role of the United States in the international community of nations in conserving natural resources to further global prosperity and security.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Global Conservation Act of 2012.

2.

Findings

Congress makes the following findings:

(1)

Sound natural resource management and healthy levels of biological diversity are vital to alleviating poverty in developing countries that depend on these resources for food, medicine, housing material, trade, recreation, and other activities that benefit from the intrinsic value of wildlife and its habitat.

(2)

The United States is uniquely positioned to partner with the international community to confront natural resources challenges in developing countries.

(3)

The United States needs a strategy for working jointly with other countries to address renewable natural resource depletion trends around the world and the threats such trends pose to the economy, health, and security of the United States.

3.

Definitions

In this Act:

(1)

Appropriate congressional committees

The term appropriate congressional committees means—

(A)

the Committee on Foreign Relations and the Committee on Appropriations of the Senate; and

(B)

the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Committee on Appropriations of the House of Representatives.

(2)

Developing country

The term developing country means a country or area that is on the List of Official Development Assistance Recipients of the Development Assistance Committee of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

(3)

Hotspot regions

The term hotspot regions means regions of the developing world that contain an unusually high concentration of species found nowhere else and that have lost at least 70 percent of their original extent.

(4)

Natural resources or renewable natural resources

The terms natural resources and renewable natural resources mean natural resources, including soils, forests, animal and plant populations and products, coral reefs, and water, but do not include nonrenewable natural resources such as minerals, oil, and other fossil fuels.

4.

Purpose

The purpose of this Act is to strengthen the capacity of the United States to further economic development and improve stability and security both domestically and abroad by establishing a comprehensive strategy for—

(1)

enhancing and expanding partnerships throughout the international community to address natural resource challenges to ensure healthy and sustainable supplies of water, wildlife habitat and populations, fish stocks and habitat, forests, plants, and other critical resources;

(2)

integrating international conservation projects and activities to advance United States foreign policy priorities in areas such as security, democratization, sustainable food production, and clean water;

(3)

expanding and enhancing the economic and wildlife conservation benefits that derive from properly managed international hunting and angling tourism;

(4)

addressing poaching, illegal logging, fishing and wildlife trafficking; and

(5)

establishing more efficient and effective policies and processes for departments and agencies engaged in, or providing support to, international conservation by—

(A)

identifying clear goals, priorities, and benchmarks of success;

(B)

improving coordination among such agencies in order to clarify roles, reduce duplication, and enhance effectiveness;

(C)

improving agency processes to ensure conservation programs are administered effectively, efficiently, and with minimal expenditures for program administration;

(D)

identifying conservation programs and policies currently being utilized abroad and evaluating the potential for similar approaches to be adopted by the United States to further the purposes of this Act; and

(E)

encouraging participation by the United States in various multilateral efforts to leverage financial commitments to conserve natural resources.

I

Assessing existing policies and programs

101.

National academy of sciences study and government accountability office audit and report

(a)

Study required

Not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of State and the heads of other relevant Federal agencies shall enter into an arrangement with the National Academy of Sciences to conduct a study of existing United States international conservation programs to determine the extent to which such programs are achieving the following objectives:

(1)

Advancing conservation in the world’s most ecologically and economically important terrestrial and marine ecosystems and protecting distinct hotspot regions that provide a high level of economic benefit to human communities as well as a high concentration of genetic and other natural resources.

(2)

Enhancing and expanding partnerships throughout the international community to address natural resource challenges to ensure healthy and sustainable supplies of water, wildlife habitat and populations, fish stocks and habitat, forests, plants, and other critical resources.

(3)

Integrating international conservation projects and activities to advance United States foreign policy priorities in areas such as security, democratization, sustainable food production, and clean water.

(4)

Expanding and enhancing the economic and wildlife conservation benefits that derive from properly managed international hunting and angling tourism.

(5)

Addressing poaching, illegal logging, fishing, and wildlife trafficking.

(b)

Report required

Not later than 2 years after the date of the enactment of this Act, the National Academy of Sciences shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees a report containing the findings of the study conducted pursuant to subsection (a).

(c)

GAO report

Not later than 2 years after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Comptroller General of the United States shall issue a report that includes—

(1)

a detailed description of key federally sponsored multilateral international conservation programs, including—

(A)

the agencies associated with each program;

(B)

the primary goals of each program;

(C)

the extent to which executive branch agencies have established measures of performance and effectiveness for each program; and

(D)

the funds made available to each program in the previous fiscal year;

(2)

an assessment on how well executive branch agencies are collaborating and coordinating on international conservation efforts;

(3)

an assessment on the extent to which executive branch agencies have established strategic goals and performance measures;

(4)

an assessment of agency processes to ensure conservation programs are administered effectively, efficiently, and with minimal expenditures for program administration;

(5)

identification of conservation programs and policies currently being utilized abroad and evaluation of the potential for similar approaches to be adopted by the United States to further the purposes of this Act;

(6)

any recommendations that the Comptroller General considers appropriate and useful to improve collaboration and coordination between executive branch agencies on international conservation efforts; and

(7)

any other analyses the Comptroller General considers necessary or appropriate.

II

Policy planning and implementation

201.

Comprehensive United States international conservation strategy

(a)

In general

Not later than 2 years after the date of the enactment of this Act, the President, acting through the Interagency Working Group on Global Conservation designated pursuant to section 202(a), shall establish and submit to the appropriate congressional committees a comprehensive strategy (hereafter referred to as the International Conservation Strategy) to strengthen the capacity of the United States to collaborate with other countries, international organizations, the private sector, and private voluntary organizations on a sustained international effort to conserve natural resources and enhance biodiversity in a manner beneficial to the economic well-being and security of the United States and other participating countries.

(b)

Goals and benchmarks

The International Conservation Strategy established pursuant to subsection (a) shall provide a comprehensive plan of action that identifies specific and measurable goals, benchmarks, and time frames for—

(1)

advancing conservation in the world’s most ecologically and economically important terrestrial and marine ecosystems;

(2)

protecting distinct hotspot regions that provide a high level of economic benefit to human communities as well as a high concentration of genetic and other natural resources;

(3)

helping developing countries address illegal, unreported, and unregulated industrial fishing where economies are negatively impacted by depleted fish stocks;

(4)

safeguarding natural areas that provide fresh water to developing countries;

(5)

protecting forests and advancing enforcement efforts against illegal logging in centers of the illegal logging trade;

(6)

advancing enforcement efforts against poaching and unlawful wildlife trafficking operations;

(7)

facilitating and leveraging the economic and conservation benefits that derive from properly managed international hunting, angling, and wildlife observation tourism;

(8)

stabilizing or reversing renewable natural resource scarcity and degradation trends in regions that are vulnerable to conflict, instability, or mass migration from natural resource depletion;

(9)

expanding substantially the amount of economically and ecologically significant forest in developing countries; and

(10)

reducing the rate of erosion and desertification in developing countries where soil loss is resulting in severe impacts to the economy, food security, or stability.

(c)

Coordination and leverage

The International Conservation Strategy shall coordinate and leverage the participation of relevant executive branch agencies, other countries, the private sector, and private voluntary organizations in ways that—

(1)

reflect Government-wide policy that encompasses the programs of, and reduces duplication among, executive branch agencies that influence, engage in, or support international conservation;

(2)

provide a plan to identify and improve United States policies that could be undermining the conservation of critical natural resources and biodiversity abroad; and

(3)

seek to encourage and leverage participation from governments of developing countries and other governments, the private sector, private voluntary organizations, and international organizations to implement the Strategy.

(d)

Assessing and improving effectiveness

The International Conservation Strategy shall include a description of the performance and efficiency measures developed pursuant to section 202(a)(2)(C) and a process for their utilization.

(e)

Country ownership

In preparing the International Conservation Strategy, the Interagency Working Group on Global Conservation shall ensure that the Strategy is appropriate to local needs and conditions and incorporates the views of partner countries, and describes a means for local citizens to participate in the implementation and the setting of priorities of such programs in the field. The International Conservation Strategy should build upon partner country development plans and regional strategies.

(f)

Revision

Not later than 4 years after the International Conservation Strategy is established, and every 4 years thereafter, the Strategy shall be revised to reflect—

(1)

new information collected pursuant to the implementation of the Strategy; and

(2)

advances in the understanding of biological diversity and the economic and security impacts of renewable natural resource degradation.

202.

Policy implementation

(a)

Interagency working group on global conservation

(1)

Establishment

Not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the President shall establish the Interagency Working Group on Global Conservation (hereafter referred to as the working group), which shall include the participation of the executive branch agencies that affect, oversee, or implement programs that conduct or support international conservation activities or affect the ability of the United States to achieve the goals of the International Conservation Strategy.

(2)

Duties

The working group shall—

(A)

develop, through utilization of the report completed pursuant to section 101(b) and appropriate public and agency input, the International Conservation Strategy established pursuant to section 201(a);

(B)

identify measures to enhance program and policy coordination among the relevant executive branch agencies in implementing the Strategy by ensuring that each relevant executive branch agency undertakes programs primarily in those areas where each such agency has the greatest expertise, technical capabilities, and potential for success, and ensuring that agencies avoid duplication of effort;

(C)

work with the Office of Management and Budget to evaluate the effectiveness of the international conservation programs of the relevant executive branch agencies in meeting the goals of the Strategy by developing and applying specific performance measurements, including assessments of—

(i)

program effectiveness;

(ii)

program efficiency and cost-effectiveness;

(iii)

program accessibility and transparency; and

(iv)

agency overhead or project administration costs for programs operating in the field;

(D)

submit to the heads of the United States Government departments and agencies represented on the working group programmatic recommendations that are consistent with the priorities of the Strategy and policy recommendations to ensure that the polices of such departments and agencies advance the interests of the United States in conserving critical global natural resources and biodiversity;

(E)

submit to such heads recommendations for facilitating coordination and continuity across the departments and agencies in the implementation of global conservation policies subject to interagency or multi-agency jurisdiction;

(F)

identify innovative conservation projects, policies, and initiatives that contribute to achieving multiple foreign policy goals simultaneously, including—

(i)

reducing poverty;

(ii)

expanding access to food and water;

(iii)

addressing health threats through natural resources conservation;

(iv)

expanding the access of women to sustainably managed natural resources and to techniques for improved natural resource management;

(v)

addressing poaching, unlawful fishing, and illegal logging;

(vi)

reducing natural resource scarcities or degradation that could increase inter- and intra-state tensions; and

(vii)

conserving biological diversity;

(G)

identify measures to address obstacles to achieving the goals of the Strategy, including policies that might limit the conservation benefits from properly managed international hunting and angling tourism;

(H)

develop recommendations for expanding the role of the private sector in United States international conservation programs by expanding and leveraging private sector contributions;

(I)

identify measures that further the goals of the Strategy, including regulatory actions that facilitate the importation process for wildlife species with a legitimate scientific purpose or to directly or indirectly benefit the recovery of the species or its habitat through the support of conservation programs in foreign countries;

(J)

recommend diplomatic mechanisms, relevant international institutions and agreements, and other appropriate mechanisms to engage other countries to work jointly with the United States to achieve the goals and actions of the International Conservation Strategy;

(K)

identify successful conservation programs and policies currently being utilized abroad and evaluate the potential for similar approaches to be adopted or expanded by the United States to further the goals of the Strategy;

(L)

identify underperforming and unsuccessful projects and programs and make recommendations to improve performance and terminate programs and projects in a manner consistent with furthering the goals of the Strategy;

(M)

identify natural resource conservation needs not currently being met by existing policies and programs and make recommendations for addressing such needs;

(N)

recommend mechanisms to facilitate mutually beneficial international conservation partnerships between such departments and agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and the private sector; and

(O)

meet regularly to review progress on the objectives described in subparagraphs (A) through (N).

(3)

Working group leadership

The President shall designate an individual in the executive branch to serve as the chair of the working group (hereafter referred to as the chair), the duties of whom shall include—

(A)

convening and leading meetings of the working group;

(B)

taking steps to ensure the development and implementation of the International Conservation Strategy;

(C)

ensuring the goals and purposes of the working group are met in accordance with paragraph (2); and

(D)

ensuring public input into the development and implementation of the International Conservation Strategy by convening the Global Conservation Public Advisory Board established under subsection (b).

(b)

Global Conservation Public Advisory Board

(1)

Establishment

There is hereby established a Global Conservation Public Advisory Board (hereafter referred to as the Advisory Board), whose purpose shall be 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 International Conservation Strategy, and to ensure that the best scientific, policy, economic security, and business expertise are reflected in the international conservation strategies and policies of the United States.

(2)

Duties

It shall be the duty of the Advisory Board to advise the working group on matters related to carrying out the duties described in subsection (a)(2), including on matters submitted to it for consideration by the working group, as well as matters identified by the Advisory Board.

(c)

Membership

The Advisory Board shall be comprised of not more than 15 persons appointed from among citizens of the United States who support sustainable-use conservation, and shall have outstanding expertise in one or more of the following fields:

(1)

International conservation.

(2)

International diplomacy.

(3)

International business.

(4)

Economic development and poverty alleviation.

(5)

Food security and water access.

(6)

Natural resource scarcity and degradation and related conflict and security issues.

(7)

The economic and conservation benefits of international hunting and angling tourism.

(8)

International laws concerning illegal wildlife trafficking and illegal fishing.

(9)

Wildlife biology and zoology.

(d)

Appointment

Members of the Advisory Board shall be appointed by the President with the advice of the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate and the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives, on a staggered basis for a term not to exceed 4 years, except that with respect to the initial members of the Advisory Board, 1/3 shall be appointed for a term of 2 years, 1/3 shall be appointed for a term of 3 years, and 1/3 shall be appointed for a term of 4 years.

(e)

Chairman

A member of the Advisory Board shall be elected by a vote of the majority of the Board to serve as Chairman for a 2-year term.

(f)

Meetings

The Advisory Board shall convene at the call of the Chairman to consider a specific agenda of issues, as determined by the Chairman in consultation with the working group and other members of the Advisory Board.

(g)

Reporting

The Advisory Board shall report to the working group chair designated in accordance with subsection (a)(3) on its deliberations, conclusions, and recommendations.

(h)

Applicability of Federal Advisory Committee Act

The Advisory Board shall be exempt from the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App.).

203.

Reporting

(a)

Government accountability office report

Not later than 4 years after the International Conservation Strategy is established under section 201, the Comptroller General of the United States shall conduct an audit to consider the progress made to achieve the objectives, goals, and benchmarks described in section 201(b), and submit to the appropriate congressional committees a report on the development and implementation of the International Conservation Strategy. The report shall—

(1)

assess progress made in accomplishing the goals and benchmarks described in section 201(b);

(2)

assess the extent to which the executive branch agencies have identified conservation programs and projects that have the potential for replication or adaptation, particularly at low cost, in other United States international conservation efforts;

(3)

assess the extent to which agencies have increased the efficiency and effectiveness of United States international conservation programs and reducing executive branch agency overhead or project administration costs for conservation programs implemented abroad;

(4)

assess the extent to which agencies have identified unsuccessful projects and programs and the actions taken to improve performance or terminate such projects and programs;

(5)

assess the extent to which agencies have quantified the economic benefits that resulted from investments in international conservation programs and activities called for in the Strategy, and an accounting of the measures utilized to calculate such benefits;

(6)

include policy analyses and outline options for congressional consideration; and

(7)

include any other analyses the Comptroller General considers necessary or appropriate.

204.

Wildlife dependant recreation and uses of wildlife

(a)

Wildlife dependent recreation

No provision in this Act shall be construed as restricting, limiting, or otherwise impairing properly managed recreational hunting and angling.

(b)

Regulated uses of wildlife

No provision in this Act shall be construed as restricting, limiting, or otherwise impairing the ability of any foreign jurisdiction or authority to authorize regulated programs supporting wildlife for local consumption and commercialization.

III

Support and resources from other countries

301.

Purpose

The purpose of this title is to leverage significantly United States commitments to global natural resources conservation by encouraging other countries to make substantial commitments of funding and other forms of assistance to a comprehensive and coordinated international natural resource and biodiversity conservation assistance strategy in order to promote economic development, food and water security, environmental sustainability, the protection of biodiversity, and local and regional security.

302.

Diplomatic goals and venues

(a)

Goals

Congress urges the President to work with the world’s major foreign assistance donor countries to—

(1)

develop a comprehensive and coordinated international conservation assistance strategy consistent with the priorities identified in the United States International Conservation Strategy established pursuant to section 201(a);

(2)

identify innovative and efficient multilateral mechanisms that can be used to coordinate international action by all participating donor countries, identify and reduce duplication of efforts among such donors, achieve the most cost effective investments, and leverage international foreign assistance with meaningful financial and other commitments in recipient countries; and

(3)

agree on a timetable for achieving the goals of the United States International Conservation Strategy.

(b)

Venues

Congress urges the President to explore opportunities for achieving the goals identified in this section within the context of United States bilateral diplomacy with other important international donor countries, bilateral diplomacy with newly emerging donor countries, and all appropriate multilateral venues.