The Director of International Trade and Commodities at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Pamela Coke-Hamilton, has warned that there will no longer be business if the world does not have biodiversity.
Science has also been warning that the ecosystems that support rich biodiversity are collapsing. The world is staring at a biodiversity crisis, with more one million species threatened with extinction within decades.
Yet there are solutions on the table – and many old, traditional and localized practices – that can support efforts to live within the limits offered by the Earth.
‘’We all can do something about it, from the smallest consumer to the largest company. It’s a responsibility we can’t ignore. If we don’t have biodiversity, we don’t have business’’, Coke-Hamilton said.
BioTrade is one solution. Last September, as part of the first UN Trade Forum, the fifth BioTrade Congress examined the changes needed to curb biodiversity loss through sustainable practices and building more sustainable supply chains from the ground up.
1. Get familiar with biodiversity-friendly labels:
According to a recent report, 90% of the world’s rich biodiversity lands will be cleared for agricultural purposes due to increased demand for meat and dairy. Consuming less meat and dairy would help reduce carbon emissions. For example, if the average American replaced a third of the beef he or she eats with pork, poultry or legumes, his or her food-related emissions would fall by around 13%.
BioTrade however, refers to those activities of collection, production, transformation, and commercialisation of goods and services derived from native biodiversity under the criteria of environmental, social and economic sustainability.
Since its launch by UNCTAD in 1996, the BioTrade Initiative has been promoting sustainable BioTrade in support of the objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity. The Initiative has developed a unique portfolio of regional and country programmes.
UNCTAD is currently implementing the Global BioTrade Programme: Linking trade, biodiversity and sustainable development with the support of the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO.
In the past 20 years, BioTrade has expanded in terms of the number of partners and practitioners involved, sectors and geographical coverage. BioTrade has been mainstreamed at both national and international levels, for instance in the Decisions of the Parties to the CBD and CITES, discussions at the United Nations General Assembly, as well as within development banks, the private sector, civil society and markets.
A strong network of partners and practitioners has been established and is being expanded continuously to cover evolving needs of beneficiaries, document lessons learned and address relevant emerging issues. Further efforts from BioTrade partners should continue documenting, disseminating and measuring its impact and contribution to sustainable development, SDGs and the Aichi Targets at all levels.