Biodiversity, ecosystems, species, and genetic resources are
the basis of society and a sustainable economy. The services they provide are
not only the foundation of life such as food, medicines, shelter, fresh water,
productive soils and clean air, but are also used by private actors and civil
society for research and in developing products and services. Thus, the sustainable
management and conservation of biodiversity resources is essential if those
services wish to be maintained and satisfy the needs of humankind in a sustainable,
equitable and inclusive manner. The recognition of biodiversity is stated in
the Rio+20 outcome document The Future we want, as well as in the Sustainable
Development Goals (SDGs), MDGs and the 2011-2020 Strategic Plan for Biodiversity
/ Aichi Targets.
Sixteen years after UNCTAD launched the BioTrade Initiative with the aim of promoting trade and investment in biodiversity as a means of furthering sustainable development, a number of countries, regions and national and international stakeholders have been embracing BioTrade principles as integral parts of their strategies. Over 21 countries have been already involved in BioTrade, through the support of UNCTAD and BioTrade partners, and are working on non-timber forest products, sustainable agriculture, animal farming, flowers and foliage, fibers and handicrafts, and sustainable tourism. The Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) has been a key partner supporting the expansion of the concept, at the international level through UNCTAD and UEBT, as well as the regional and national levels through PhytoTrade Africa, Colombia and Peru.
During the Days of Dialogue on sustainable development of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20 Conference), the First BioTrade Congress “Biodiversity: the life of the green economy” was organized. This first Congress focused on BioTrade as one emerging green economic sector, and included representatives from all BioTrade partners at the national, regional and international levels, as well as private actors from developed and developing countries. The event provided concrete examples and inputs to policy makers on how governments, private sector and civil society are using biodiversity as an engine to support their development. Best practices and case studies were discussed considering the: (a) Need to foster an enabling policy framework to support BioTrade and its biodiversity-based businesses and value chains; (b) Importance of actions promoting information exchange and awareness raising; (c) Enhancement of value chains; and (d) Market creation and development. For further information, please visit:
The BioTrade congresses are global events that provide an environment and a platform for BioTrade partners and practitioners and biodiversity stakeholders to collaborate and share their experience in implementing sustainable practices in the path to achieve sustainable development. The congresses provide an opportunity to discuss practical examples that are implemented across a variety of sectors and regions, as well as emerging issues with the aim to guide private actors, governments and civil society in their efforts to achieve an inclusive and sustainable development. Collaborative efforts to achieve this goal are essential.