About the Policy Program

History of SCB Policy Program

Between 1995 and 2001, SCB's standing policy committee commissioned policy white papers and framed resolutions for consideration at SCB's global meetings. In 2001, SCB decided to locate its executive office in Washington D.C., based in part on the idea that being close to the United States’ Capital would facilitate SCB’s ability to engage more actively with policy makers. 

From 2007 to 2013, the SCB policy program worked primarily within North America to strengthen and defend the policies that conserve biological diversity. However, SCB has been an active participant within international fora such as the Convention on Biological Diversity as well as the more recently Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). Within the United States, SCB has participated in public commenting on agency proposals, presented testimony before the U.S. Congress on issues affecting endangered species, climate change, and public lands, and has worked with other partners to defend the laws designed to conserve biological diversity. SCB also worked extensively to develop and improve policies to uphold the integrity of the scientific process.

In 2013, the SCB global board decided to decentralize the policy program in line with a goal of developing greater capacity for regions to influence policy in their respective regions. Each region has substantial autonomy to initiate policy statements. The global policy committee helps sections coordinate their policy work with that of the global SCB and other regions, and also focuses on international issues. For example, SCB's involvement in IPBES is coordinated through the global policy committee.

One of SCB's Major Strategic Goals is to Increase Application of Science to Management and Policy

The SCB is a global community of natural and social scientists and practitioners who believe the application of science to management and policy is essential for effective conservation. The SCB global board recognizes that it is important for conservation biologists, and conservation practitioners generally, to be aware of and involved in the policy process on issues that affect biodiversity. One of the major goals of SCB's strategic plan is to inform management and policy at local, national, regional, and global levels with the highest quality science. Greater understanding of links among science, management, and policy and better exchange of knowledge are necessary to conserve biological diversity. Conservation practitioners and policy-makers must participate in identifying issues that require new research and clear translation and dissemination. A culture of sharing data and evaluation of management actions is necessary to build a common evidence base for future actions.

SCB policy activities to further this goal include:

  • Convening conservation scientists, managers, and stakeholders to explore how management can be informed with high-quality science, and how scientists can learn from policy and management.
  • Formulating and disseminating policy position statements that are based on objective, high quality science.
  • Identifying processes to inform executive and legislative bodies and other decision-making institutions about science that is relevant to policy and management alternatives.
  • Providing conservation scientists with training on how best to interact with media and attract and sustain positive media interest and coverage.

The full SCB Strategic Plan can be found here.

SCB's Policy Committee

The global policy committee is composed of representatives from the regions as well as the chairs of subcommittees responsible for global initiatives.
The committee members are: