Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka is founder and CEO of Conservation Through Public Health, a Ugandan nonprofit that promotes healthcare for people and animals in and around sanctuaries for mountain gorillas and other wildlife, in hopes of reducing disease transmission from people to animals and vice versa.

Mr. President:
As we become increasingly aware of the great threat of climate change to life on Earth, we must not forget the other immediate threats of poverty, disease, and population growth. These threats are interrelated and need to be addressed simultaneously.

An approach that is working here in Africa is to integrate programs for population, health, and the environment. Providing access to family planning, basic healthcare, and economic support for environmental services creates stable, sustainable communities and prevents extinction of endangered animal and plant species. Such an approach also promotes peace in war-torn regions and ensures that our grandchildren will still be able to see mountain gorillas, chimpanzees, elephants, okapis, pandas, and polar bears.