Since 2001, the U.S. Congress has encouraged the U.S. Agency for International Development – USAID, the agency that dispenses foreign development assistance – to implement family planning and related reproductive health programs in areas where biological diversity is threatened and where species are endangered. Congress has never specified a funding level for these activities, which are supported by funds appropriated for international family planning programs, amounting to more than US$400 million annually in recent years. Over the past few years the agency has allocated between $1 million and $2 million annually to fund such projects and to explore the implications of the population-environment linkage as it applies to the conservation of critical ecosystems and the biodiversity they shelter.
This brochure offers background information on the concept of integrating reproductive health services and natural resource management in communities in developing countries. It also provides advice on how to seek U.S. government support for implementing projects that integrate these environmental and population-related activities.
The innovative conservation and development approach Congress supported is called by various names: community-based population and environment (CBPE), reproductive health and natural resource management (RH/NRM), or PHE, for population, health and environment. The key objective is simultaneously to improve access to family planning and related health services while helping communities manage their natural resources, with the goals both of improving people’s health and livelihood and conserving wildlife and other biological resources.