Making An Impact

Photo of Willian Lucitante, leader of the Cofan people in northern Ecuador.
The charismatic leader of the Cofan people is also a GIS expert and guardian of nearly one million acres of Amazonian forest.
Thomas J. Müller

As the largest funder of international biodiversity conservation in the United States Government, USAID has a transformational impact in over 50 countries, and has a major influence on the practice of conservation. Whether through policy change in Kenya, ranger training in Thailand, or support for indigenous resource rights in Brazil, USAID programs are designed to sustainably conserve nature for generations to come.

Learning from and sharing our experience is essential for turning local projects into national efforts, bringing approaches from one country to another, and even changing how conservation partners do business.  We are also documenting the development co-benefits of our conservation interventions, and the importance of biodiversity to human well-being. 

Key resources include:

Country Profiles
All USAID missions conduct Biodiversity Analyses in support of strategic planning for all sectors, often in conjunction with a Tropical Forest Analysis (if relevant to the country).  These national or regional profiles provide a first step towards identifying priority geographies, threats and partners for conservation in a country or region.

Annual Reports
Annual reports to Congress explain how biodiversity and forestry funds are allocated across missions and other operating units, and highlight notable trends and results.  

USAID has minimum standards for all biodiversity conservation programs, known collectively as the “Biodiversity Code.”

Tools and Guidance
Biodiversity and forestry programs are expected to exceed requirements and apply best practices when possible. USAID and its partners have developed several analytic tools for conservation, as well as guidance useful for conceptualizing and implementing conservation plans.  New tools in 2015 include a comprehensive Biodiversity and Development Handbook and a reference for Integrating Biodiversity and Climage Change Adaptation in Activity Design.

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