International Policy

International environmental conventions and treaties bring together governments, international organizations, non-governmental organizations, and other stakeholders to find shared solutions to global environmental challenges. There are several such conventions and treaties that specifically address wildlife (both terrestrial and marine). They serve as legal frameworks that help to protect wildlife, such as controls on the international trade in wildlife and wildlife products through the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) or by enhancing the protection of outstanding natural areas/national parks, for example, through the World Heritage Convention.

Our Goal

To contribute WCS's scientific, technical, and policy expertise to international discussions between governments and influence international policies and commitments that will benefit wildlife and wild places, and impact WCS's work in the field to benefit wildlife and wild places.

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Photo Credit: ©Jeff Morey/WCS

WCS's John Robinson (left) at the United Nations.

Our Work

WCS engages with governments, international policy-makers and decision-makers, intergovernmental organizations, and other stakeholders to share our scientific, technical, and policy expertise and to advocate for the development and implementation of international policies and commitments, through treaties and conventions. Our focus is on issues and treaties that directly threaten or otherwise impact the wildlife and wild places on which WCS works, with particular emphasis on: wildlife trade (legal and illegal, including poaching and trafficking), protected areas (including deforestation and forest conversion), and wildlife health. We work closely with national governments and regional organizations such as the European Union to provide technical advice from the field to both influence and enhance the effectiveness of their policies.

The major policies we seek to influence at the national and international level are:

  • Wildlife trade and CITES, including combating wildlife trafficking
  • Protected areas—on land and in the sea
  • Securing rights of indigenous and traditional peoples to manage and benefit from their natural resources
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Photo Credit: ©WCS China

WCS's Susan Lieberman meets with Chen Fengxue of the China State Forestry Administration.

Why WCS?

  • WCS has staff working in the field and in capitals in almost 60 countries, including a large number of PhD scientists with considerable scientific expertise. WCS also has staff with many years of policy and scientific experience, working with governments and international organizations.
  • We have good relationships with governments at all levels (local, national, and international), including in countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America, North America, and Oceania, where we work.

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