GENEVA, May 19 (KUNA) -- The International Union for Conservation of Nature
(IUCN), Plantlife International and TRAFFIC are calling on Wednesday for
governments to endorse a revised and updated Global Strategy for wild plant
Conservation which aims to halt the continuing loss of the world's plant
"The importance of conserving wild plant resources such as medicinal plants
must not be ignored by the world's governments," says Jane Smart, Director,
IUCN Biodiversity Conservation Group in a press release.
"Medicinal plants secure the livelihood and healthcare of thousands. They
are also the key to the conservation of whole habitats which underpin healthy
resilient ecosystems, and which can help combat serious problems we face such
as soil erosion and flooding, as well as mitigate the effects of climate
change," he added.
The experts agreed that the significance of medicinal plants can't be
underestimated. Eighty percent of people in Africa use traditional medicine
for primary healthcare, while 323,000 households in Nepal alone are involved
in the collection of wild medicinal plants to sell for their livelihoods.
Addressing issues such as site management, rights over resources,
encouraging cultivation, developing local resource centres, collecting
information on medicinal plant markets and improving terms with traders are
all key to stopping more plants becoming threatened with extinction under
criteria for the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species which is registered as a
"We are particularly concerned that, alongside measures to conserve forests
and agriculture, the importance of sustaining wild-collected medicinal plants
and their habitats is not forgotten," says Roland Melisch, Global Programme
"The key to conserving medicinal plants lies in involving indigenous and
local communities because they are the ones who know and value plant resources
the most." he explained.
IUCN, Plantlife International and TRAFFIC welcome the positive discussion
on the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation taking place in Nairobi, Kenya
on Tuesday at a meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and
Technological Advice to the Convention on Biological Diversity, or SBSTTA.
Decisions taken in Nairobi will provide a scientific basis for discussions
that will take place in October in Nagoya, Japan, at the 10th meeting of the
Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, experts
"Medicinal plants are highly valued by communities all over the world. It
is essential in the next decade that we work towards sustainable collection of
this valuable resource, not only for nature conservation but for the
well-being and livelihoods of indigenous local communities who depend on those
resources," says Elizabeth Radford, International Programme Manager, Plantlife
International. "This new Strategy would help ensure their long term future."
Medicinal plants are valuable species: they provide income and healthcare
to thousands of people around the world. Greater numbers of people rely on
traditional medicine, mostly based on herbs, for their primary healthcare than
'conventional' or western medicine. But 15,000 species of medicinal plants are
globally threatened from, amongst others, loss of habitat, overexploitation,
invasive species and pollution.
IUCN helps the world find pragmatic solutions to our most pressing
environment and development challenges by supporting scientific research;
managing field projects all over the world; and bringing governments, NGOs,
the UN, international conventions and companies together to develop policy,
laws and best practice.
The world's oldest and largest global environmental network, IUCN is a
democratic membership union with more than 1,000 government and NGO member
organizations, and almost 11,000 volunteer scientists and experts in some 160
countries. IUCN's work is supported by over 1,000 professional staff in 60
offices and hundreds of partners in public, NGO and private sectors around the
IUCN's headquarters are located in Gland, near Geneva, in Switzerland. (end)
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