About the ICC
The International Conservation Caucus was founded in September 2003 by Representatives Clay Shaw (R-FL), John Tanner (D-TN), Ed Royce (R-CA), and Tom Udall (D-NM) with a commitment to helping the United States lead public and private international partnerships that provide stewardship of natural resources for habitat and bio-diversity protection, poverty reduction, economic development and regional security.
Conservation is an American Value
Since the creation of Yellowstone National Park in 1872, the world's first nationally protected park, conservation has been a truly American value. Conservation, Theodore Roosevelt insisted, is democratic in its essence, in that national parks preserve our natural heritage for all people. He urged us to consume with restraint, because the wildlife and natural resources in our land belong not only to us, but the generations of Americans that come after us.
Conservation as an Essential Tenet of Foreign Policy
History has taught us that natural resources can and often will be a source of violent conflict. Population growth and consumption patterns reveal that the likelihood of armed conflict over food, water, minerals, and energy will increase dramatically in the future. We must change how we live and interact with nature, because our fate is inextricably tied together with it. For the parts of the world not ready to make the necessary changes, we must help, because we are all in this together.
The following principles should frame U.S. efforts to support international conservation programs:
- All actions must be grounded in respect for the sovereignty, cultures, and traditions of the nations in which programs are implemented.
- Careful account must be given to local community concerns and needs.
- Sound science is fundamental to designing effective conservation strategies.
- Protected areas are a cornerstone of successful and sustainable conservation.
- Conservation should be linked with efforts to promote good governance, strengthen rule of law, reduce poverty, encourage economic development, nurture democratic institutions, advance education, and improve public health.
- Conservation requires collaboration among governments, civil society organizations, the private sector, international institutions, and others.