WASHINGTON (March 17, 2017) – WCS Executive Vice President of Public Affairs John Calvelli issued the following statement after the release of the Administration’s first budget request:

“Dramatic reductions in funding for the State Department, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the Department of the Interior and others will harm people, wildlife, the environment and our national security.

“It was disappointing to see that the proposed budget request undercuts American leadership and hampers our national security through sweeping cuts to the State Department, USAID, and other federal agencies. International conservation, through programs of the State Department, USAID, the GEF, and the Department of the Interior in particular, are a bulwark against instability abroad, by promoting good governance, law enforcement and economic development. Efforts to combat wildlife trafficking help crack down on criminal syndicates and terrorist groups that are also trafficking in weapons, drugs and people.

“Foreign aid and diplomacy are important and proven methods of keeping America safe that cost us less in lives and taxpayer dollars than hard power. But these proposed cuts would make this exponentially more difficult. I urge our friends in Congress to fully fund these important agencies to keep America secure.”