The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Division of International Conservation Leads the Way as the First Government Program Designated as an Evidence Champion

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) Division of International Conservation (DIC), within the International Affairs program, provides critical technical and financial support for wildlife conservation around the world. As of this week, it’s also the world’s first government office globally to be designated an "Evidence Champion!” 

Dr. Daphne Carlson announcing DIC's recognition as an evidence champion at the international gathering, hosted by Conservation Evidence, TRAFFIC, and USFWS at the Cambridge Conservation Initiative. 

The Evidence Champion program, administered by the U.K.-based Conservation Evidence project, recognizes agencies and organizations that demonstrate commitment to using evidence and scientific data to inform their conservation strategies. The Conservation Evidence project is a free online resource that summarizes scientific evidence on the effectiveness of various biodiversity conservation interventions. Founded by Professor Bill Sutherland at the University of Cambridge, the project aims to strengthen the effectiveness of conservation actions by providing easy access to recent and relevant knowledge.

DIC’s recognition as an Evidence Champion was announced this week at the international gathering, Delivering the Effectiveness Revolution in Conservation: Lessons from Organisations, Policy Makers & Funders, in Cambridge, U.K., which convened global conservation partners and leaders to discuss strengthening collaborative evidence-based conservation.

Elsa Haubold, Acting Assistant Director of International Affairs, welcomed the news. “This recognition underscores DIC’s commitment to incorporating scientific data into conservation practices and championing evidence and evaluation activities within the agency,” remarked Haubold. “As the first government office to earn this designation, DIC sets a new standard for conservation effectiveness for government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and academic institutions.”

Daphne Carlson, Head of DIC, proudly remarked, "Our designation as an Evidence Champion marks a significant milestone in our mission to protect the world’s diverse wildlife and their habitats. By promoting and supporting evidence-based practice in our efforts and partnerships, we are leading by example and encouraging our peers worldwide to embed evidence in conservation efforts."

DIC protects and restores priority species and their habitats around the world by providing technical and financial assistance to implementing partners through the Multinational Species Conservation Funds, regional grant programs, and combating wildlife trafficking program. Since 1990, when DIC awarded its first grant to support forest elephant conservation in Africa, DIC staff have recognized the importance of using the best available data and scientific evidence to make empirically supported decisions and build on lessons learned around the world to improve conservation outcomes. In other words, DIC has a long history of directing limited resources towards conservation strategies that we know will work

The species of the Multinational Species Conservation Fund.

“We feel confident that our evidence-based approach will enhance accountability across our programs, shape our conservation decisions, and garner greater support for species conservation,” explained Daphne Carlson. “By focusing on learning, we are continually trying to understand what works in conservation. We are dedicated to fostering transparency and efficacy in our efforts to expand our evidence base, supported by the incredible dedication of our partners on the ground who are tirelessly protecting the world’s most important wildlife.”

Through its commitment to scientific research and international collaboration, DIC is not only protecting wildlife and habitats, but is also ensuring that these efforts are grounded in solid evidence. This pioneering approach promises a future where conservation actions are more effective, impactful, and sustainable, safeguarding our planet's biodiversity for generations to come.

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International conservation