Text: H.R.4959 — 111th Congress (2009-2010)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (03/25/2010)


111th CONGRESS
2d Session
H. R. 4959


To strengthen the capacity of the United States to lead the international community in reversing the trends of renewable natural resource degradation around the world that threaten to undermine global prosperity and security and diminish the diversity of life on Earth.


IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

March 25, 2010

Mr. Carnahan (for himself, Mr. Fortenberry, Mr. Reichert, Mr. Moran of Virginia, Mr. Sires, Mr. Ehlers, Mrs. Biggert, Mrs. Maloney, and Mr. Dicks) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs


A BILL

To strengthen the capacity of the United States to lead the international community in reversing the trends of renewable natural resource degradation around the world that threaten to undermine global prosperity and security and diminish the diversity of life on Earth.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. Short title.

This Act may be cited as the “Global Conservation Act of 2010”.

SEC. 2. Findings.

Congress finds the following:

(1) Five hundred million people in developing countries depend on fresh water from natural areas that are under threat of degradation.

(2) Two billion people depend on rapidly diminishing fish stocks for a significant source of their daily protein.

(3) Wild species provide more than $300,000,000,000 in benefits to world agriculture from natural pest control and the pollination of two-thirds of the crop species that feed the world.

(4) Plant breeding programs involving genetic enhancements from the wild relatives of agricultural crops have helped feed billions of people around the world and are valued at $115,000,000,000 per year.

(5) Human degradation of and encroachment into natural ecosystems such as rainforests increases opportunities for the outbreak and spread of animal-borne infectious diseases—similar to AIDS, SARS, avian flu, malaria, schistosomiasis, tuberculosis, and yellow fever—that could cause high levels of mortality and affect major global industries including travel, trade, tourism, food production, and finance.

(6) Forests prevent catastrophic flooding and severe drought, and coral reefs and mangroves reduce the impact of large storms on coastal populations saving $9,000,000,000 in damages each year and reducing outlays for disaster assistance.

(7) The destruction of forests mostly in developing countries releases more greenhouse gases than the entire world transportation sector. As one of the most cost effective ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, a global forest conservation program could help reduce the cost to the United States of efforts to reduce emissions.

(8) More than half of the most prescribed medicines in the United States are derived directly from natural compounds or patterned after them. Due to the loss of natural areas and compounds from wild species, one marketable prescription drug is estimated to be lost every two years.

(9) The U.S. National Intelligence Council expects demographic trends and natural resource scarcities relating to water, food, arable land, and energy sources to lead to instabilities and conflict in the years ahead.

(10) Illegal logging, fishing, and mining in developing countries flood the international market with low-cost products that undercut the competitiveness of responsible companies in the United States. In the absence of competition from illegal producers, the United States would be able to increase wood product exports by $460,000,000 a year.

(11) Sound natural resource management, healthy levels of species diversity, and functioning natural ecosystems are vital to alleviating poverty for many communities in developing countries that depend on these resources for food, medicine, housing material, and other necessities.

(12) Women are especially vulnerable to the threat of natural resource degradation because they produce most of the food and collect most of the firewood in many regions, comprise a large portion of small landholders and small-scale producers, face heightened food insecurity, and have less access to land, other natural resources, credit and resource management assistance.

(13) The initial stages of a major extinction crisis are occurring now, and as many as two-thirds of all known species could be near extinction by the end of this century. Three-quarters of the world’s terrestrial species are in developing countries that are rapidly destroying their natural areas and habitats.

(14) The United States does not have a strategy for reversing any of the major renewable natural resource depletion trends around the world and the threats they pose to the nation’s health, security, or economy.

(15) Several executive branch agencies are engaged in some aspect of international conservation, yet their efforts are not coordinated in a manner that maximizes the effectiveness of the United States’ international conservation efforts overall.

(16) Participation by the United States in multilateral efforts to conserve natural resources, such as through the World Bank and the Global Environmental Facility, leverages financial commitments by other countries by a much as 14 to one.

SEC. 3. Definitions.

In this Act:

(1) DEVELOPING COUNTRIES; DEVELOPING WORLD.—The terms “developing countries” and “developing world” mean a country or countries with a relatively low level of material well being and considered “developing” by the World Bank’s 2009 Country Classification System with 2008 Gross National Income per capita below $11,905.

(2) 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.

(3) 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) SUSTAINABLE FOREST MANAGEMENT CERTIFICATION SYSTEM.—The term “sustainable forest management certification system” means a system of forest monitoring and forest products tracking designed to ensure that forest products are produced using methods that take into account a variety of widely accepted environmental, social, and economic criteria.

(5) THREATENED SPECIES.—The term “threatened species” means, at a minimum, species identified by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and its constituent networks of governments, specialist groups, and other stakeholders as having a high probability of global extinction.

(6) WILDERNESS.—The term “wilderness” means areas of the developing world larger than 2,500,000 acres and more than 70 percent intact.

SEC. 4. Purpose.

The purpose of this Act is to strengthen United States leadership and the effectiveness of the United States response to the worldwide natural resource and biodiversity depletion crisis under existing statutory authority governing United States international assistance for conservation by—

(1) establishing a comprehensive global natural resource and biodiversity conservation assistance strategy for United States Government activities assisting developing countries that includes a plan for—

(A) addressing major natural resource degradation trends relating to human well-being and environmental sustainability such as loss of soils, watersheds, wilderness, fish stocks, forests, species, and other critical resources;

(B) identifying clear goals, priorities, and benchmarks of success;

(C) the phased expansion of existing critical programs where necessary;

(D) improved coordination among executive branch agencies engaged in international conservation in order to clarify roles, reduce duplication, and enhance effectiveness; and

(E) improved integration of conservation goals within the development, security, and other foreign policy priorities of the United States;

(2) providing authorization for funding for United States efforts to help address the major threats to natural resources, species, and ecosystems in developing countries; and

(3) improving coordination among the United States, foreign governments, and international organizations in effectively delivering conservation assistance through governments, multilateral organizations, private organizations, and local communities and community partnerships.

TITLE IPolicy Planning and Implementation

SEC. 101. Comprehensive United States international conservation strategy.

(a) In general.—The President, acting through the Coordinator for Global Conservation designated pursuant section 102, shall, not later than one year after the date of the enactment of this Act, establish a comprehensive and integrated strategy (hereafter referred to as the “International Conservation Strategy”) to help combat global natural resource and biodiversity degradation in developing countries and that builds on existing bilateral and multilateral programs and strengthens the capacity of the United States to collaborate with developing countries and other donor countries and the private sector and be an effective leader of an international effort of such Strategy.

(b) Programmatic approach.—The International Conservation Strategy established pursuant to subsection (a) shall provide a comprehensive Government-wide plan of action to address global natural resource and biodiversity degradation that identifies specific and measurable goals, benchmarks, and time frames, including—

(1) advancing conservation in the world’s most ecologically and economically important terrestrial wilderness areas and marine ecosystems such that conservation or sustainable development consistent with long-term conservation has been achieved on an area of land exceeding 2,000,000 square miles and an area of sea exceeding 6,000,000 square miles;

(2) protecting 34 discrete 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 unlawful, unreported, and unregulated fishing in ten developing countries where fish stocks are severely depleted and regional fishing economies threatened through increased surveillance and enforcement;

(4) safeguarding natural areas providing fresh water to 12 major urban centers in developing countries or 50,000,000 people in developing countries;

(5) advancing enforcement efforts against unlawful wildlife trafficking operations in ten centers of the unlawful global wildlife trade;

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

(7) expanding substantially the amount of economically and ecologically significant forested land under a credible sustainable forest management certification system.

(c) Coordination and leverage.—The International Conservation Strategy shall coordinate and leverage the participation of relevant executive branch agencies, foreign governments, and the private sector in ways that—

(1) clarify United States efforts to address the conservation crisis within the broader United States development, foreign policy, and security agendas;

(2) establish policy guidance to link investments in specific conservation programs to the broader goals of advancing economic development, alleviating poverty, improving United States economic competitiveness, protecting global public health, improving the access of women to natural resources, and reducing resource scarcities that have the potential to lead to civil instabilities, mass migrations, and conflict;

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

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

(5) seek to encourage and leverage participation from the private sector, other donor governments, governments of developing countries, international financial institutions, and other international organizations to implement such Strategy.

(d) Revision.—Not later than five years after the International Conservation Strategy is established, such Strategy shall be revised to reflect—

(1) new information collected pursuant to the implementation of such Strategy;

(2) advances in the understanding of biological diversity, the economic and security impacts of renewable natural resource degradation, and climate change; and

(3) the impacts of climate change on conservation, biodiversity, and human needs.

SEC. 102. Policy implementation.

(a) Coordinator.—The President shall designate an individual to serve in the Executive Office of the President as the Coordinator for Global Conservation (hereafter referred to as the “Coordinator”). The Coordinator shall—

(1) advise the President on international conservation-related issues;

(2) oversee the development and implementation of the International Conservation Strategy established pursuant to section 101(a);

(3) enhance program and policy coordination among the relevant executive branch agencies in implementing the International Conservation 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;

(4) evaluate the effectiveness of the international conservation programs of the relevant executive branch agencies in meeting the goals of the International Conservation Strategy by developing and applying specific performance measurements;

(5) assess and certify the adequacy of the budgets for the international conservation programs of the relevant executive branch agencies in meeting the goals of the International Conservation Strategy, and submit to the heads of the departments and agencies with responsibilities under such Strategy by July 1 of each year budget recommendations, including requests for specific initiatives that are consistent with the President’s priorities under such Strategy;

(6) take such actions as are necessary to ensure that the climate change, export and business development, trade, and development and humanitarian assistance polices of the various executive branch agencies advance the interests of the United States in conserving critical global natural resources and biodiversity;

(7) identify innovative pilot projects or underfunded programs for early or immediate funding that are important for demonstrating or further developing conservation methodologies or approaches likely to be important to the success of the International Conservation Strategy;

(8) identify innovative pilot projects or underfunded programs that result in expanding the access of women to sustainably managed natural resources and to techniques for improved natural resource management;

(9) expand significantly the role of private sector leveraging in United States bilateral global conservation assistance by substantially expanding programs that leverage private sector contributions, such as the Agency for International Development’s Global Development Alliance in the conservation sector; and

(10) take such actions as are necessary to use diplomatic mechanisms, relevant international institutions and agreements, and other appropriate mechanisms to lead other countries toward the goals and actions of the International Conservation Strategy, together with commitments of increased funding for meeting such goals.

(b) Interagency working group on global conservation.—

(1) ESTABLISHMENT.—The Coordinator shall establish in the executive branch the Interagency Working Group on Global Conservation (hereafter referred to as “the interagency group”).

(2) DUTIES.—The interagency group shall—

(A) advise the Coordinator on the development and implementation of the International Conservation Strategy;

(B) assist the Coordinator in discharging the responsibilities of the Coordinator specified in subsection (a);

(C) review policies that may be obstacles to achieving the goals of the International Conservation Strategy;

(D) oversee and report on the implementation of the strategy within the relevant executive branch agencies;

(E) advise the Coordinator of measures to increase appropriate agency participation in and interagency coordination on conservation projects; and

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

(3) MEMBERSHIP.—The interagency group shall consist of officials in relevant executive branch agencies responsible for overseeing and implementing programs that conduct international conservation activities or affect the ability of the United States to achieve the goals of the International Conservation Strategy, as well as officials capable of providing information to the Coordinator that can aid in the development and implementation of such Strategy.

SEC. 103. President’s advisory committee on global conservation.

(a) Establishment.—The President shall establish the President’s Advisory Committee for Global Conservation (hereafter referred to as “the Advisory Committee”) to ensure that the best scientific expertise and the concerns of relevant public constituencies are reflected in the international conservation policies of the United States.

(b) Duties.—The Advisory Committee shall—

(1) advise the President on the development and implementation of the International Conservation Strategy established pursuant to section 101(a);

(2) assist the Coordinator in the implementation of the Coordinator’s responsibilities in accordance with section 102;

(3) review periodically the progress of such Strategy and at least on an annual basis bring to the attention of the Coordinator innovative pilot projects that further develop conservation methodologies likely to be important to the success of the International Conservation Strategy; and

(4) take steps to educate the public about the global conservation programs of the United States.

(c) Membership.—The Advisory Committee shall consist of at least 25 members, of whom—

(1) not fewer than four shall be selected from representatives of United States universities or nongovernmental organizations and have an expertise in international conservation;

(2) not fewer than two shall be selected from representatives of United States universities or nongovernmental organizations and have an expertise in the relationship among natural resources, biodiversity, economic development, and poverty alleviation;

(3) not fewer than two shall be selected from representatives of United States private businesses or trade associations and have an expertise in the relationship between global natural resource conservation and the competitiveness of the United States economy or key industries;

(4) not fewer than two shall be former members of Congress or former high level officials in the executive branch;

(5) not fewer than two shall represent religious institutions or communities of faith;

(6) not fewer than one shall be an expert on the effects of natural resource degradation on women’s lives and livelihoods;

(7) not fewer than one shall be selected from a zoological institution with expertise in in situ and ex situ conservation;

(8) not fewer than one shall be selected from representatives of United States universities or nongovernmental organizations and have an expertise in global freshwater water supply;

(9) not fewer than one shall be selected from representatives of United States universities or nongovernmental organizations and have an expertise in the relationship between natural resource conservation and food security;

(10) not fewer than one shall be selected from representatives of United States universities or nongovernmental organizations and have an expertise in the effects of climate change on natural resources and biological diversity;

(11) not fewer than one shall be a former member of the United States Armed Forces and have an expertise in natural resource scarcity and conflict and security issues;

(12) not fewer than one shall be selected from representatives of United States universities or nongovernmental organizations and have an expertise in infectious diseases that can be shared between animal and human populations; and

(13) not fewer than one shall be selected from the arts or the media.

(d) Period of appointment.—Each member of the Advisory Committee shall be appointed for a term of three years except that of the initial members of the committee in which one-third of the members shall be appointed for a term of two years, one-third shall be appointed for a term of three years, and one-third shall be appointed for a term of four years.

(e) Meetings.—The Advisory Committee shall convene at the request of the chairperson who shall be selected by the Coordinator or, at the discretion of the Coordinator, selected by a majority vote of the members of the Advisory Committee.

(f) Reporting.—The Advisory Committee shall report to the Coordinator on its deliberations, conclusions, and recommendations.

(g) Expenses.—The members of the Advisory Committee shall be allowed travel expenses, including per diem in lieu of subsistence, at rates authorized for employees of agencies under subchapter I of chapter 57 of title 5, United States Code, while away from their homes or regular places of business in performance of services for the committee.

(h) Exemption.—The Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App.) shall not apply to the work process and recommendations of the Advisory Committee.

SEC. 104. Reporting.

(a) Annual reports, including best practices reports.—Not later than one year after the date of the enactment of this Act and annually thereafter, the President shall transmit to the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate a report on the development and implementation of the International Conservation Strategy established pursuant to section 101(a) assessing progress made during the preceding year and highlighting the programs receiving financial assistance from the United States that have the potential for replication or adaptation, particularly at low cost, across international conservation programs.

(b) Program review.—Not later than four years after the date of the enactment of this Act, the President shall transmit to the committees referred to in subsection (a) a report assessing progress made during the preceding four years and evaluating the effectiveness of United States global conservation programs in achieving the International Conservation Strategy.

(c) Publication of reports.—The Coordinator shall ensure that all reports required by this section are published on the White House Web site or another appropriate Web site.

SEC. 105. Authorization of appropriations.

There is authorized to be appropriated such sums as may be necessary to carry out this title.

TITLE IIMultilateral Programs

SEC. 201. Purpose.

The purpose of this title is to leverage significantly United States financial 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, human health, food and water security, environmental sustainability, the protection of biodiversity, and local and regional security.

SEC. 202. 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 101(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;

(3) agree on funding requirements and funding goals from all participating donor countries;

(4) negotiate a timetable for achieving such Strategy’s goals; and

(5) promote existing multilateral initiatives designed to identify meaningful levels of interim funding for forest conservation in developing countries in advance of the implementation of any international program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from forest destruction and degradation.

(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.