Policy Tools & Opportunities for Members
The policy program staff are available to assist SCB members when they have policy concerns and issues that they would like to address. The majority of SCB's formal policy statements originate with ideas from our members that have been brought to the attention of SCB's policy committee. The policy program staff encourages SCB's members to contact us, or to contact the relevant regional section or working group, if you believe SCB should weigh in on a particular issue.
As a global society, no member or group may issue a policy statement on behalf of the Society without prior approval from the SCB Policy Committee. If you would like SCB, a Section, Working Group, or Chapter to issue a policy statement, you must follow the SCB Policy Approval Process.
There are additional ways that SCB members can become involved in the policy process, and here too, the policy program staff are available to assist members in this endeavor. Below lists some of the ways that the policy program interacts with SCB's members, as well as additional resources that will help SCB members contribute to the policy process independently.
Policy Program Activities for Members
Formal letters - SCB sends formal letters to heads of governments, legislators, agency directors, and other officials around the world to encourage them to take actions that would strengthen biodiversity protections. All letters on behalf of SCB, its sections, working groups, or chapters must be first approved by the SCB policy committee. Therefore, the policy program encourages members to contact the policy staff if they believe that SCB should send a letter on a particular issue.
Public comments - Public commenting on proposed government activities has become standard practice in many countries, and in multinational environmental agreements. SCB submits a wide variety of comment letters on proposed government activities that impact biodiversity. Members may be aware of commenting opportunities that have been overlooked by the SCB policy program, and are encouraged to contact the program to see how, or if, a comment letter by SCB would be appropriate.
Meetings with legislators - SCB members often become aware of issues that could biodiversity and may wish to make their Representative or Senators aware of a potential problem. SCB policy staff can assist members in reaching out to their Congressional representatives, and if members wish to brief Congressional staff in Washington D.C., can help facilitate such meetings. In addition, the SCB policy program occasionally receives requests from the Congress to provide expert advice and identify expert witnesses for Congressional hearings on issues relating to biodiversity. When applicable, SCB policy staff will reach out to those SCB members, who have self-identified in the SCB expert database, to inquire as to whether they would be willing to testify.
- Meetings with agency staff - SCB members also often wish to bring their research to staff within the Federal agencies that manage biodiversity, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Marine Fisheries Service, the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and others. SCB staff can assist members by facilitating meetings with agency staff, and can provide advice on how best to interface with a particular Federal agency.
Many of SCB's regional sections and working groups have active policy committees that initiate policy statements and other policy activities. We encourage SCB's members to contact the policy chairs of the regional sections if you believe that a particular section should weigh in on a particular policy issue. Below are listed the policy chairs for those regional sections that have an active policy section, and section presidents for those sections and working groups that do not have a regional policy committee:
- North America Section Policy Chair - Thomas Sisk
- Europe Section Policy Chair - Pierre Ibisch
- Marine Section Policy Chair - Hedley Grantham
- Oceania Section President - Carolyn Lundquist
- Latin America & Caribbean Section President - Mariana M. Vale
- Asia Section President - Simon Nemtzov
- Africa Section President - Edward Nector Mwavu
- Freshwater - Jeanne Nel
- Social Sciences - Tara Teel
- Religion and Conservation Biology - A.C. Tangavelou
- Ecological Economics & Sustainability Sciences - Julianne (Mills) Busa
Stay up to date with policy news by joining our policy email list.
SCB members may wish to interact with members of the United States government on their own. SCB has prepared a quick overview of the United States government as a service to our members and to help them make their voices heard. SCB's guide to the U.S. government can be found here.
SCB's Policy Director and other SCB members have prepared several presentations that provide overviews of domestic and foreign policy affecting biodiversity, as well as strategies for communicating science to the public and policy makers: