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Tropentag, October 5 - 7, 2004 in Berlin

"Rural Poverty Reduction
through Research for Development and Transformation"

Worldwide Assessment on the Sustainable Use of Medicinal and Aromatic Plant Species

Rainer Schliep

WWF Germany, Species Conservation Section, Germany


In 2003 a survey on the sustainable sourcing of Medicinal and Aromatic Plant (MAP) species was initiated by WWF Germany, the German branch of WWF - World-Wide Fund for Nature, and TRAFFIC Europe. The TRAFFIC (Trade Record Analysis of Fauna and Flora in Commerce) network is the joint wildlife trade monitoring programme of WWF International and IUCN - the World Conservation Union. TRAFFIC's mission is to ensure that trade in wild plants and animals is not a threat to the conservation of nature.
The main objective of the survey is to support and promote the development of internationally binding standards and criteria for the sustainable sourcing and use of MAPs. The revision of the 1993 WHO/IUCN/WWF Guidelines on the Conservation of Medicinal Plants and the current development of the WHO Guidelines on Good Agricultural and Collection Practices (GACP) for medicinal plants are processes that are intended to profit from the results of the survey. The intention is that both the negotiations on the international level and the projects on local or regional level mutually benefit from the experiences gained.
The initial step was the establishment of a worldwide register of at present more than 70 projects that are focused on the sustainable sourcing of MAPs. Around 30 of these projects were selected for an in depth analysis. The analysis is focused on the challenge of integrating social, economic and ecological aspects for a sustainable conservation approach. A questionnaire with 41 questions concerning social, economic and ecological aspects as well as communication and capacity building and institutional and legal aspects was elaborated and distributed among the selected projects. The conceptual background for the questionnaire was provided by the Ecosystem Approach (EsA). The EsA is a strategy for the integrated management of land, water and living resources that promotes conservation and sustainable use in an equitable way. It is the primary framework for action under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
More than 15 projects from Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America answered the questionnaire. The analysis of the feedback and an evaluation of the results will be presented at the Conference.

Keywords: In-situ conservation, medicinal and aromatic plants, nature conservation, poverty alleviation, standards and criteria, sustainable sourcing, traditional health care

Contact Address: Rainer Schliep, WWF Germany, Species Conservation Section, Offenbacher Straße 17a, 14197 Berlin, Germany, e-mail: Rainer.Schliep@gmx.de

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