Wednesday, 23 April 2008

UNCTAD launched the second phase of the BioTrade Facilitation Programme

Accra, 22 April 2008 - UNCTAD launched the second phase of the BioTrade Facilitation Programme (BTFP II), which helps developing countries benefit from the sustainable use of their biodiversity, during the twelfth session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, held in Accra, Ghana from 20 to 25 April 2008.

The decision reflects the growth in international trade of biodiversity products, such as the plants, extracts and oils increasingly used in cosmetics and natural remedies. Launched in 2002 in Johannesburg, the BioTrade Facilitation Programme works with governments, companies, civil society and small-scale producers. It aims to promote trade while at the same time conserving the biodiversity of developing countries.

Biotrade involves the collection, transformation, production and sale of goods and services derived from natural biodiversity – the millions of microbial, plant and animal species that inhabit the planet. Biodiversity also comprises oils, dyes, resins and fibres and other substances used in cosmetics and pharmaceuticals, as well as timber, handicrafts, medicinal plants, nuts and tropical fruits. In addition, biodiversity contributes to the services sector in developing countries, most notably eco-tourism.

The expanding trade in biodiversity products is due in part to the popularity of cosmetics, care products and remedies based on natural ingredients. For example, the European Union market in natural cosmetics grew by about 20% in each of the past two years and was estimated at €1 billion in 2007. The market for “cosmeceuticals” is expected to reach €3.6 billion in the EU next year.

Reference: African Press Organisation 22/04