Taking action for conservation and livelihoods at the local level


The Sustainable Livelihoods Foundation, a Cape Town based non-governmental organisation, jointly with herbalists and other partners launched Herbanisation – an open access, medicinal street garden project in 2012. The underlying idea is to create livelihood options for local Rasta and Khoi herbalists by upgrading degraded streets capes in economically marginalised areas marked by high unemployment and crime rates in Cape Town. At the same time the project aims to reconnect the community members with medicinal plants and the traditional knowledge around the use of these plants as well as traditional healers. Herbanisation has proven to be a successful approach for conservation, livelihood creation and connecting multiple stakeholders to take action to improve their health and well-being. Started as a pilot project with 250 medicinal plants, Herbanisation has expanded and covers currently 1.700 plants in Seawinds and will most probably reach 4,500 by mid 2015.

Find out more about the work here

The FairWild Standard as a tool for conserving life-saving medicinal plants under threat


An estimated 60,000 Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (MAPs) species are used globally for their medicinal properties alone. Wild harvest and trade provides a critical source of income, particularly for the rural poor in developing countries. It underpins production of numerous traditional medicines, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, food and other products. Annual international trade in pharmaceutical plants alone averages half a million tonnes, and was valued at over $2 billion in 2012, with nearly half exported from Asia. Wild plants make a significant contribution to Asian economies. As many as one-fifth of all plant species are threatened with extinction, with MAP populations around the world declining due to over-harvest. This is of particular concern for livelihoods and businesses in developing countries, where reliance on MAPs is high, human populations and environmental pressures are increasing, and enforcement of environmental controls is low.

In response to this global problem, TRAFFIC – a key partner of the Biodiversity and Community Health (BaCH) Initiative – along with WWF, IUCN, the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) and others developed the FairWild Standard. It provides guidance on sustainable and equitable sourcing of wild plant products. The Standard and guidance tools are now being used by industry to improve product-sourcing guidelines, by governments to design harvest and trade controls, by communities in their management systems, and by intergovernmental agreements such as the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).


Read more about ways on how the FairWild Standard can be used for sustainable conservation of medicinal plants under threat in a recent article by the Deutsche Welle here

Learn more about TRAFFIC’s work on promoting the use of the FairWild Standard here

The Nagoya Protocol on access and benefit-sharing of genetic resources will enter into force


The Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) agreed in October 2010 in Nagoya, Japan will enter into force on October 12 2014. The protocol finally reached 51 of 50 required ratifications to enter into force. Against the background of the Biodiversity and Community Health (BaCH) Initiative’s work on linking biodiversity, health, traditional knowledge and livelihoods, the protocol plays an important role towards achieving international development goals. Through implementing the Nagoya Protocol the international community hopes to “create incentives for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity while guaranteeing equity in the sharing of benefits” (CBD Executive Secretary Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias). The first meeting of parties to the protocol will be held during the upcoming twelfth Conference of Parties of the CBD from 13-17 October in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Learn more about the protocol here and find a full list of signatories and ratifications here. Read more about capacity development measures focused on implementing the Nagoya Protocol here.

Fostering synergies between biodiversity & human health




Three of the Biodiversity and Community Health (BaCH) Initiative’s partners the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (SCBD), Bioversity International and UNEP jointly with other partners such as the World Health Organization (WHO) are conducting a side event on biodiversity, ecosystems and the life-supporting services. On Wednesday 25th of June multiple key stakeholders working on issues at the nexus of biodiversity, human health and livelihoods are gathering to discuss pathways to foster these linkages to impact sustainable development and wellbeing at large. The side event takes place within the framework of the open-ended intergovernmental scientific advisory body known as the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) in Montreal.

Learn more about the linkages here.

Learn more about the SBSTTA’s role in shaping policy for sustainable development here.

Working towards island conservation and sustainability


This years International Day for Biodiversity is dedicated to Island Biodiversity and coincides with the designation by the UN General Assembly proclaiming 2014 as the International Year of Small Island Developing States. The theme was chosen to correspond with the timing of COP decision XI/15 paragraph 1(a), in which the Conference of the Parties “urges Parties, and invites other Governments, financial institutions and other relevant organizations to strengthen the implementation of the Programme of Work on Island Biodiversity”.

CBD LogoTo mark the occasion, the Secretariat to the Convention on Biological Diversity (SCBD) – a key partner of the Biodiversity and Community Health Initiative (BaCH) dedicated a publication with contributions from the Global Island Partnership (GLISPA) on island conservation and sustainability to support the implementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and its Aichi Biodiversity Targets.

glispa-logo-larger-2The Convention’s Programme of Work on Island Biodiversity, adopted in 2006 by the eighth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, provides a strategic framework to significantly reduce island biodiversity loss, thereby contributing to poverty alleviation and the sustainable development of islands. The programme contributes to meeting at least 14 of the 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets, as well as the Barbados Programme of Action and the Millennium Development Goals. As the publication shows, these projects, several of which also support community involvement, are making a difference in advancing conservation and sustainable livelihoods, with a strong focus on community involvement for long-term sustainability solutions.


The publication features initiatives such as the Program for Island Resilience, to create local participation and community support for the goals of the Micronesia Challenge. The program centers on creating a community-driven education and behaviour change campaigns to restore and maintain healthy reefs and resilient livelihoods. These campaigns seek to inspire people to take pride in the species and habitats that make their communities unique while introducing alternatives to environmentally destructive practices. Read more here