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USAID and U.S. Government Policy

by Gateway Web Editor last modified Oct 24, 2017 09:50 AM
USAID Natural Resource Management and Development Portal
Credit: USAID Forestry and Biodiversity

USAID policies, strategies, frameworks and visions are intended to convey the thinking of the agency’s leadership and, in some cases, make agency commitments to key stakeholders. They are designed in a collaborative, evidence-based process that engages expertise from throughout the agency and from external resources.

USAID aims to shape a future in which both people and biodiversity thrive via improvements in economic prosperity, social equity and environmental stewardship. The Agency’s Biodiversity Policy builds upon our long history of conserving biodiversity for current and future generations and reflects our recognition of the role that healthy natural systems play in achieving development goals.

The Biodiversity Policy represents our strengthened commitment to conserve biodiversity through: 1) strategic actions to conserve the world’s most important biodiversity, such as stamping out global wildlife, forestry and fisheries crime, and 2) a new focus on integrating biodiversity and other development sectors for improved outcomes. The Policy recognizes that biodiversity loss can be driven by unsustainable development, that there are trade-offs between biodiversity conservation and development goals that must be understood and managed, and that biodiversity conservation itself is essential for achieving sustainable development.

USAID Biodiversity Policy
USAID Biodiversity Code
Foreign Assistance Act Sections 118/119 Tropical Forest and Biodiversity Analysis Best Practices Guide

Implementing the USAID
Biodiversity Policy

USAID's Biodiversity Policy is being implemented in a number of ways. Chapter One of the Biodiversity and Development Handbook provides the context of the Policy, while Chapter Two walks through the steps for biodiversity programming in line with the Policy throughout the USAID Program Cycle. Chapter Two also lays the groundwork for conservation effectiveness by describing a rigorous and holistic planning and implementation approach. Additional tools and guides to supplement this Chapter being developed through Measuring Impact are located under the "Conservation Effectiveness" tab.

Alignment with U.S. Government and Agency Policies

The USAID Biodiversity Policy promotes the integration of biodiversity conservation with other development sectors, such as Global Climate Change, Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment, and Water.

Our work aligns with important U.S. Government and Agency policies.

Wildlife Crime and Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing and Seafood Fraud
The Legality and Sustainability page profiles our work on combating wildlife trafficking and on illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and seafood fraud.

Climate-Resilient International Development
President Obama issued an executive order Climate-Resilient International Development in September, 2014 that expanded the U.S. Government’s policy on climate resiliency to international development projects. Specifically, the executive order establishes a new Working Group on Climate-Resilient International Development within the Council on Climate Preparedness and Resilience. The Working Group is charged with establishing guidelines for integrating the consideration of climate change risks and climate resilience into the funding decisions of all agencies with direct international development programs; developing an assessment process for agencies to use to assess climate risk; and identifying approaches for aligning the agencies’ programs and funding decisions to address the outcomes of these climate-risk assessments.

USAID Natural Resource Management and Development Portal

USAID Global Climate Change and Development Strategy
Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our generation. USAID—as part of the broader Presidential Global Climate Change Initiative (GCCI)—is addressing this challenge in ways that recognize both its severity and the opportunities clean economic growth presents to spur innovation and encourage investments that will have long ­lasting environmental and development benefits. If we support countries to build climate resilience and move towards a “low carbon” economic growth pathway, we can help provide more stable and prosperous futures for the U.S. and for our partners, including new markets for clean technology and expansion of the green economy. Alternatively, if we are unable to meet this challenge, climate change could jeopardize many of the development gains the international community and the U.S. government have worked for decades to secure.

USAID Natural Resource Management and Development Portal

USAID Gender Equality and Female Empowerment Policy
Gender equality and female empowerment are core development objectives, fundamental for the realization of human rights and key to effective and sustainable development outcomes. No society can develop successfully without providing equitable opportunities, resources, and life prospects for males and females so that they can shape their own lives and contribute to their families and communities. Although many gender gaps have narrowed over the past two decades, substantial inequalities remain across all sectors in which USAID works, particularly in low income and conflict affected countries and among disadvantaged groups.

Research and Building the Evidence Base

USAID is committed to evidence-based programming to improve outcomes and contribute to the global knowledge base. USAID’s Scientific Research Policy underscores the importance of research to design, test, improve, and assess the effectiveness of approaches and interventions that target key concerns in developing countries. While the Agency is not a research institution and can only support limited research directly, it can influence, leverage and, above all, use relevant research. Given the importance of USAID as a conservation donor, a research agenda that identifies key questions for the Agency is an asset to scientists and research institutions that want to carry out policy-relevant research. The Biodiversity and Development Research Agenda seeks to build the evidence base seeks to build the evidence base for the links between biodiversity conservation and development outcomes and improve the effectiveness of conservation projects.


Search in the USAID and USG Policy area:

Biodiversity Policy



1. Conserve biodiversity in priority places.
2. Integrate biodiversity as an essential component of human development.
  • Support enabling conditions for biodiversity conservation;
  • Reduce priority drivers and threats to biodiversity;
  • Integrate conservation and development for improved biodiversity and development outcomes;
  • Build partnerships to mobilize resources in support of biodiversity conservation;
  • Influence key international policies in support of biodiversity conservation; and
  • Apply science, technology and learning to enhance biodiversity conservation practice.
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