The adoption of the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) represented a significant step in integrating the conservation of wildlife and wild places into the UN’s global development agenda. WCS staff were actively engaged in the effort to include references to terrestrial and marine wildlife and ecosystems in the goals, as included in Goal 14: Life Below Water and Goal 15: Life on Land. We are also working to advocate for the role played by wildlife and wild places in delivering many of the other SDGs, for example in relation to food security, peace and climate action. WCS Brussels is working to ensure that this agenda is properly implemented at the EU level and that wildlife and wild places are integrated into EU aid and development programmes.
To align with the SDGs, the European Commission's Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO) is taking new steps in its support for biodiversity by developing a holistic strategy to support wildlife conservation worldwide. DG DEVCO released a report in May 2016 called "Larger than Elephants: Inputs for an EU strategic approach to wildlife conservation in Africa – Regional Analysis”, founding the basis of the EU activities for the next 10 years in Africa. Similar reports for other regions are also under development in consultation with the conservation community. WCS is working to provide scientific and technical input to these documents and to advocate their full implementation.WCS strongly supports this unprecedented initiative by DG DEVCO to support wildlife conservation, and we look forward to continuing to collaborate on this issue.