By 2020, Conservation International will protect all human subjects in research and share lessons for building a robust research ethics review process with peer organizations. This will ensure standards within social science, while also promoting similar standards among conservation partners.

Conservation research has the potential to directly or indirectly impact its human subjects, individuals or institutions discussed in the study, researchers, communities, and the sponsors of the research. These impacts can be social, financial, physical or psychological. CI is committed to protecting human subjects by adhering to high ethical standards in the conduct of research and scholarship, while maintaining the productivity and creativity of persons involved in research. Therefore, all research involving human subjects and regardless of the source of funding must follow CI’s Research Ethics Policy, which forms part of the Institution’s Rights-based Approach to conservation. To date, however, a general lack of awareness of the Policy and access to relevant tools has limited the Policy’s application. CI’s experience in applying the Research Ethics Policy can also inform peer organizations and offer lessons for ensuring that ethical standards for social science are followed within the broader conservation community. Research ethics is a cornerstone of public trust and critical for advancement to international prominence and excellence in social science research. Improved application of the Research Ethics Policy will help CI become a leader in social science research, adhere to its Rights-based Approach to conservation, and better link science and action. All of these efforts are essential to achieving the CI mission “to empower societies to responsibly and sustainably care for nature, our global biodiversity, for the well-being of humanity.” 


Identify research priorities related to social science research ethics in the field of conservation. 

Translate research findings into lessons, policies, and processes at CI and to inform partners. 

Build the capacity of CI staff and leadership and relevant research partners to ensure ethical conduct in research involving human subjects.

Strengthen CI’s internal systems and resources for ensuring ethical conduct in research involving human subjects




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