A NATIONAL BIODIVERSITY STRATEGY
Unlike 193 nations around the world, the United States does not have a national strategy for how it will conserve our biodiversity. We need one.
What a National Biodiversity Strategy would do
Two resolutions, H. Res. 195 introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives in March 2023 by Rep. Joe Neguse and S. Res. 494 in the U.S. Senate in December 2023 by Senator Jeff Merkley, summarize the key elements of an effective National Biodiversity Strategy:
A National Biodiversity Strategy would leverage and build on other important national initiatives and be a bold and inspirational statement of the United States' global leadership. The America the Beautiful initiative, including its central goal of conserving 30 percent of the nation’s lands and waters by 2030, highlights the extinction crisis and directly addresses two of the key drivers of biodiversity loss: habitat destruction and climate change. The Strategy would provide a critical complement, needed to comprehensively addressing all of the biodiversity crisis' leading drivers.
The Strategy will ensure that the five major threats to biodiversity are accounted for, solutions to the threats are found, and those solutions are carried out while ensuring equity and justice for the Nation's people.
The Strategy would ensure that the federal, state and Tribal governments; public land managers and private land owners; and other stakeholders across the Nation are coordinated in their actions to save our biodiversity.
Science and traditional knowledge
The Strategy will ensure that our work to save our nation's biodiversity is guided by the best available science and traditional knowledge of ecosystems and species.
The Strategy will show that the US will provide strong and sustained leadership to address the biodiversity crisis at home and around the world through action on issues from trafficking to development finance.
Strategy Development and Implementation
The federal government has foremost responsibility for coordination and leadership on matters that span the United States, which is essential for a National Biodiversity Strategy. Departments and agencies across the government will need to be involved in its development. The effort will also require close consultation and coordination with States and Tribes, scientists and practitioners, and a transparent, inclusive, and collaborative process that ensures civil society groups and the public can contribute.
The approach outlined in the House of Representatives resolution on this subject, involving extensive public input from various stakeholders, directly reflects the approach recently used by the Biden Administration to develop the America the Beautiful report.
Implementing the Strategy requires the whole of government response needed to fully address the biodiversity crisis. This means orienting the efforts of agencies to pull in the same direction, toward the conservation of nature and the benefits it provides to people, and to do so with equity and justice.