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    BioTrade Initiative of UNCTAD

    The BioTrade Initiative was launched by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in 1996 as a response to Agenda 21 of the 1992 Earth Summit. It supports the objectives of multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs), in particular the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which refer to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and the fair and equitable distribution of the benefits generated. Through this Initiative, UNCTAD aims to promote trade and investment in biodiversity-based products and services, in line with social, economic and environmental sustainability principles and criteria.

    UNCTAD works with national and international partners that sustainably develop biodiversity-based sectors and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the personal care, food, fashion, ornamental flora and fauna, handicrafts, natural fibers and sustainable tourism industries as well as forestry-based carbon-credit activities. Forty-five countries in Asia, Africa, Europe and Latin America are already embracing BioTrade to seize the linkages between trade and investment in biodiversity as an engine for sustainable economic growth, while creating incentives for safeguarding biodiversity and enhancing livelihoods.

    Actions are focused to create an enabling policy environment for BioTrade and enhance the SMEs´ capacities and skills for engaging in sustainable sourcing, access and benefit sharing, as well as trade in value-added products and services. Companies, associations and cooperatives implementing BioTrade have reached sales of approximately €4.4 billion in 2016 and directly benefited over 5 million producers, collectors, farmers and workers.

    In 2018, UNCTAD with the support of the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO began implementation of the Global BioTrade Programme - Linking trade, biodiversity and sustainable development. This four-year programme builds partnerships to seize trade opportunities for linking biodiversity with sustainable development thereby advancing the implementation of the SDGs, particularly SDG 15 and 17. UNCTAD’s BioTrade Initiative coordinates the programme in close collaboration with partners, including: MEAs Secretariats with CBD and CITES, International Trade Centre (ITC), Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation, Swiss Import Promotion Programme (SIPPO), the ABS Initiative, PhytoTrade-Africa, the Union for Ethical BioTrade (UEBT), Development Bank of Latin America (CAF), and national and regional BioTrade Programmes in Asia, Africa and Latin America, among others.


    Key publications:


    Contact: biotrade@un.org


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