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A survey of U.S.-based efforts to research and conserve biological diversity in developing countries

A survey of U.S.-based organizations to solicit information about the biological diversity research and conservation activities that they had undertaken in developing countries in 1987.

Executive Summary

The Center for International Development and Environment of the World Resources Institute conducted a survey of U.S.-based organizations to solicit information about the biological diversity research and conservation activities that they had undertaken in developing countries in 1987. Institutions surveyed included the U.S. government, non-governmental organizations, universities, museums, charitable foundations, botanical gardens, and zoos.

In all, 873 projects active in 86 developing countries were analyzed. Of the $37.5 million spent in 1987, over half went to projects in Latin America and the Caribbean; 16 percent to Asia; 12 percent to Africa; and 11 percent to projects that were global or multiregional in scale. Projects in Costa Rica, Panama, and Mexico received 30 percent of all funding.

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p>When the projects were analyzed according to the focus of their activity, 44 percent of all funding was found to have been spent on projects that had research as their primary focus. Projects concerned with site and species management received 23 percent of all funding, with most of that being spent on protected areas. Fifteen percent of the funding went to education, which included technical and professional training. Support to developing country institutions amounted to 11 percent, and policy planning and analysis accounted for 6 percent of all funding.

The U.S. government contributed over half of the total funding, but oversaw only 24 percent of the total at the project stage. Non-govermental organizations were the largest implementors of projects, with universities and U.S. governmental agencies implementing the next largest portions.

The increasing loss of biological diversity, resulting from the loss of genetic diversity, the extinction of species,and the destruction of ecosystems, constitutes a crisis of global proportions. Relative to the magnitude of the problem, however, the resources being committed to its resolution are very small. The annual level of $37.5 million spent in 1987 is insufficient to ensure that the world's biological resources will be sustained for future generations.

The Center for International Development and Environment of the World Resources Institute carried out this survey with funding from the Bureau for Science and Technology, Office of Forestry, Environment and Natural Resources of the U.S. Agency for International Development through the Environmental Planning and Management Project.

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