The international trade of biological resources is on the rise. Trade in medicinal plants alone is expected to be over USD 800 million per year (Leaman and Mulliken, 2006). A major portion of this is sourced from unorganized sectors that directly support rural livelihoods in a considerable way. Development is conventionally defined in terms of economic growth, and usually does not account for “informal” sectors
such as traditional health delivery systems. The specific skills, capabilities and resources possessed by communities can be utilized to achieve development objectives in their contexts. Traditional knowledge and resources from an ecosystem are parts of supply chains of products (e.g., medicinal products, raw materials) and services (e.g., health care, nutrition). When income is generated and distributed equitably from such activities, it can provide an incentive to conserve such knowledge and resources, while also resulting in better health
and nutrition outcomes. This facilitates community-based enterprises that utilize traditional medicinal resources and products and streamline relevant policies related to access to resources and equitable sharing of benefits arising from its utilization (ABS).
Learn more about the buchu case – a native plant to the western part of South Africa, that has been considered as sacred and used for treating ailments such as fever, back pain etc. by the San and Khoi, indigenous people of what is now South Africa. The San and Khoi indigenous people have negotiated an agreement with several companies who were using buchu for many years as a medicine or nutritional supplement without sharing the benefits of its commercial gains. Find out more about the agreement and the health products developed using buchu here.
Learn more about the interlinkages between biodiversity, health and equitable livelihoods here.