The most significant set of global trade rules is found within the World Trade Organization (WTO). There are numerous other regional trade agreements aimed at trade liberalisation such as the North American Free Trade Agreement, the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas and the Southern African Customs Union Agreement. As NWFP trade is comparatively less significant than the trade in timber and many other commodities, NWFP do not form the focus of these agreements or associated discussions. They do, however, impact on NWFP trade as do trade conditions determined through regional economic groupings such as the European Union (EU), the Association of Southeast-Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA). In Bolivia, for instance, five different types of export forms are possible depending on the destination of a consignment, each carrying separate tariff conditions.
The WTO embodies a set of global rules that aim at trade liberalization, through reduction of tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade, as well as establishing a strong set of legal rules based on non-discrimination between countries and between products. Despite the commitment to sustainable development and environmental protection in the Preamble to the Agreement Establishing the WTO, the WTO does not contain rules that ensure that trade policy supports the conservation and sustainable use of forests, including NWFP. In principle, trade liberalization can play a positive role in improving the lifestyles of poor people who are involved in the export of forest products.
There is a lack of certainty on the relationship between WTO rules and multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) and there are concerns that the WTO will:
• Undermine the full effectiveness of MEA rules aimed at forests.
• Prevent countries from using export bans to promote sustainable development. National export controls such as those requiring that materials undergo some type of processing prior to export may be open to challenges under the WTO. The removal of these controls could, in specific instances, undermine widespread efforts at a national level to encourage value-added processing at source in order to improve rural livelihoods and local economies as well as secure conservation objectives.
• May not allow the application of independent forestry certification.
• May prevent appropriate protection of traditional forest-related knowledge and effective efforts to combat illegal trade in forest products (Tarasofsky, 2003).
WTO rules do not support positive efforts to guide trading patterns in support of sustainable development. Furthermore, it is unclear whether incentives aimed at sustainable forest management contained in Generalized Tariff Preferences are WTO legal, since there is now a challenge pending to the EU scheme. WTO rules no longer permit subsidies for adjusting to new environmental regulations. Developing countries and civil society stakeholders are effectively shut out of much of the decision-making in the WTO (Tarasofsky, 2003).
A detailed study of the potential impacts of the WTO Doha round of negotiations on forestry is currently under way. Initial results indicate that trade liberalisation appears to benefit forest-export-orientated developed countries more than developing countries. However, those with considerable forest resources, such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Brazil and Chile, and those with potential for fast-growing plantation development, should benefit economically. The study notes that unless adequate safeguards are adopted, developing countries may face environmental and social costs.
A preliminary conclusion at this stage of the study is that further reduction of tariffs is unlikely to greatly influence the consumption and production of forest products. At the world level, impacts arising from the Doha agenda will be small compared to those from economic growth, population growth and commercial development of forest products. In most contexts, increased trade alone is unlikely to cause significant direct impacts, although it can accentuate negative trends unless appropriate forest governance systems are in place and enforced. Trade liberalisation can help improve forest governance and support movement towards sustainable forest management. Conversely, it can also have a negative impact by boosting illegal activities or expanding the economic harvesting area, without a corresponding increase in the capacity to regulate. Beneficial impacts are more likely to occur and be fairly distributed where forest governance is robust. It must be noted that this study is focused on forestry rather than NWFP so the preliminary (and ultimately, the final) findings are not necessarily applicable to the trade in NWFP (Anon., 2005b).
While the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) does not require measures that are directly related to international trade, there is a close relationship between many of its provisions – as well as those of its Biosafety Protocol – and the provisions of the multilateral trade agreements of the WTO. The trade-related work of the Convention is part of a broader effort of the international community to ensure harmony and mutual supportiveness between trade rules and international environmental law, in order to both maintain biodiversity and promote international trade.
• The Parties to the CBD have emphasized the interrelationship between the Convention and the provisions of the WTO Agreement on Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement), and the need to further explore this interrelationship. Specifically, the Conference of the Parties to the CBD has recognized the role of intellectual property rights in encouraging access to genetic resources and the sharing of benefits from the use of those resources, as well as in contributing to the protection of traditional knowledge. At the fourth WTO Ministerial in Doha, in November 2001, the TRIPS Council was instructed to examine the relationship between the TRIPS Agreement and the CBD and the protection of traditional knowledge and folklore6 . The WTO Committee on Trade and Environment was also instructed to further take up relevant provisions of the TRIPS Agreement7.
• The WTO Agreement on Agriculture and the Doha Ministerial Declaration mandated further negotiations relating to agricultural trade, on market access, export subsidies and on trade-distorting domestic support. Special and differential treatment for developing countries is an integral part of all elements of the negotiations and non-trade concerns are taken into account. These negotiations are taking place in the Special Session of the WTO Committee on Agriculture. This mandate has important linkages with the CBD’s programme of work on incentive measures and its focus on positive incentives for the conservation of biodiversity and its sustainable use as well as on the removal or mitigation of perverse incentives.
• Parties to the CBD have emphasized the need to ensure mutual supportiveness of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety and, in particular, the WTO Agreements on Technical Barriers to Trade (the TBT Agreement) and on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (the SPS Agreement). The Biosafety Protocol is based on the precautionary approach and establishes a set of procedures relating to import and export of living modified organisms to ensure that Parties can make informed decisions. The Protocol may, therefore, have trade implications and relate to the ongoing discussions under the SPS and TBT Committees on the issue of living modified organisms.
At the Doha Ministerial Conference, Ministers agreed to start negotiations on, inter alia, the relationship between existing WTO rules and specific trade obligations set out in multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs), procedures for regular information exchange between MEA Secretariats and the relevant WTO committees, and criteria for the granting of observer status8. These issues are key to further enhance the mutual supportiveness between the CBD and the rules and provisions of the WTO.
Implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) began on January 1, 1994. The agreement will ultimately remove most barriers to trade and investment among the three parties – the US, Canada, and Mexico. A number of trade related tariffs were eliminated immediately, with others being phased out over periods of 5 to 15 years.
Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures: NAFTA imposes disciplines on the development, adoption, and enforcement of sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures. Disciplines contained in NAFTA are designed to prevent the use of SPS measures as disguised restrictions on trade, while still safeguarding each country's right to protect consumers from unsafe products, or to protect domestic crops and livestock from the introduction of imported pests and diseases.
Export Subsidies: The three NAFTA countries will work toward the elimination of export subsidies in North America, in pursuit of the broader objective of eliminating such subsidies worldwide. The United States and Canada will be allowed to provide export subsidies into the Mexican market to counter subsidized exports from other countries. Neither Canada nor the United States is allowed to use direct export subsidies for agricultural products being sold to the other, and both countries are required to consider the export interests of the other whenever subsidizing agricultural exports to third countries.
The negotiations for the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (FTAA), which were initiated in 1994 and are expected to be completed by the year 2005, still lack a specific chapter on the environment. Thus far only few discussions and references have been made to the environment and sustainable development. As with NAFTA, available literature highlighting the potential negative impact of FTAA on the environment does not deal with NWFP trade and is a possible area of proposed further research.
The Southern African Customs Union (SACU), between South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland, the oldest Customs Union in the world, entered into force on the 1st of March 1970, thereby replacing the Customs Union Agreement of 1910. The aim of SACU is to maintain the free interchange of goods between member countries. It provides for a common external tariff and a common excise tariff to this common customs area.
There are no direct references in the Agreement to the trade in wild plants and animals, but there are a number of provisions which have the potential to impact on the trade in NWFP. For instance, Article 24 allows freedom of transit of goods consigned to and from the areas of other Member States. Such a provision has the potential to remove trade barriers which could then have a number of impacts on both NWFP and people. Trade may increase, benefiting certain individuals within the trade chain, but an increase in trade may have a negative impact on the resource.
Article 24 does note further that a Member State may impose conditions on transit where it deems it necessary to protect its legitimate interests in respect of goods of a kind of which the importation into its area is prohibited on grounds of public morals, public health or security, or as a precaution against animal or plant diseases, parasites and insects, or in pursuance of the provisions of a multilateral international agreement to which it is a party.
There are well over a hundred international, regional and bilateral agreements dealing with a broad range of environmental issues. Very few of these contain specific provisions dealing with the trade in wild plants and animals and even fewer have direct applicability to the trade in NWFP. The key international agreements and a selection of relevant regional agreements are discussed below.
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) was developed in the early 1970’s in response to concerns that unregulated international trade in wild species of wild fauna and flora could have a detrimental impact on species and their ecosystems. It currently has 167 State Parties and regulates trade in about 30 000 species. Only a small number of these are actually endangered, the majority being species for which trade measures have been introduced to avoid conservation threat. Parties acceding to CITES agree to place controls on international trade in species that are listed in any of the Convention’s three Appendices.
Appendix I includes species that are considered by the Parties to be threatened with extinction and virtually all international trade in these species for commercial purposes is prohibited (exceptions are made for certain specimens, e.g. artificially propagated plants).
Appendix II includes species that are not necessarily threatened with extinction but that might become so unless trade is closely controlled. International trade in Appendix II species must be maintained within sustainable levels and consignments must be accompanied by CITES export permits.
Appendix III includes species for which a Party considers the co-operation of other countries to be necessary to prevent unsustainable or illegal trade in native species. Parties can unilaterally include species in this Appendix.
There are currently over 800 animal and plant species on CITES Appendix I, while Appendix II contains over 4 000 animal species and approximately 25 000 plant species.
Generally speaking, an increase in trade controls via CITES and/or other measures has the effect of making illegal what was once legal, either by banning activities outright or only permitting them to be conducted if additional procedures are followed. In certain situations the changes may be minimal – for instance requiring only the issuance of an export document – whereas in others, for example where a species is transferred to CITES Appendix I, virtually all international trade for commercial purposes becomes illegal (Roe et al, 2002).
Livelihood Impacts of CITES Trade Controls
While concerns are more regularly being voiced regarding the potential negative livelihood impacts of increased CITES trade controls, there do not appear to have been many studies gauging the actual impacts once the CITES measures have been implemented. The following are brief descriptions of the impact of CITES trade controls on four NWFP and associated livelihoods.
Goffini’s cockatoo Cacatua goffini is endemic to the Indonesian Tanimbar islands where it is considered an agricultural pest, damaging almost two percent of the islands’ maize crop annually (Cahyadin et al, 1994). The species has been listed in CITES Appendix II since 1981 and the government of Indonesia established export quotas, which peaked at 8 400 birds in 1989. Income from capture of the birds destined for trade, while only accruing to a relatively small number of people, was ultimately distributed more widely among the villages through onward spending and support to dependants (Jepson, Brickle and Chayadin, 2001). Farmers whose maize had been destroyed by the birds saw the revenue from trade as valuable compensation as well as a significant source of additional cash income (MacKinnon, 1998).
Following a ban on international commercial trade in the species in 1992 through a CITES Appendix I listing, this source of cash income has largely been lost to these people as the species is not popular locally. Farmers continue to trap the birds but, as they can no longer be exported to foreign markets, they are simply killed (MacKinnon, 1998).
Available information indicates that trade in Goffin’s Cockatoos did not present a threat to the species at the time the CITES Appendix I proposal was put forward. The fact that local farmers are trapping and killing the birds due to the export ban demonstrates that factors besides market demand are driving the removal of the species from the wild.
Cameroon signed the CITES treaty in 1993, setting the export quota for African grey parrots on 12,000 per year, since it was listed on Appendix II in 1994. However, in 1995 and 1996 this quota was exceeded, with even more than 11,000 in 1996 (CITES Notification No. 945). This resulted in CITES informing the parties not to except any Grey parrots from Cameroon in 1997 (CITES Notification
No. 993), after which the export dropped that year to 767 parrots. However, the revoking of prohibition in 1998 resulted in the quota again being exceeded in 1998 and 1999 with respectively 545 and 3,220 parrots (CITES, 2001).
After a long period of over-exploitation of Caiman (Caiman yacare) for its leather in Bolivia, the government installed a general prohibition of its hunting in 1990 (and had signed CITES in 1987) resulting in the population’s recovery. The population grew strong and hunting became again possible, though regulated by quotas which would assure it not to be over-exploited again. CITES set the quota of 50,000 caiman leathers which can be exported per year, which till this moment have been respected and gave estimated returns to the local people of around US$ 0.38 for 40,062 skins in 2003 and US$ 0.44 for 46,720 skins in 2004 (WCMC, 2005).
Wild specimens of Fischer’s Lovebird Agapornis fischeri, endemic to Tanzania, were traded in greater numbers than any other parrot species during the 1980’s, peaking at over 87 000 birds in 1987 (Edwards and Broad, 1992). Trapping was conducted exclusively by men during the dry season and involved an estimated 240-300 trappers and 720 to 1500 assistants (Moyer, 1995). As a result of a 1992 CITES review process into the impact of the trade on wild populations, a moratorium on exports was imposed, with the intention of allowing the species to recover. This ban does not apply to captive-bred birds and net exports from non-range States increased from 11 000 in 1991 to 95 000 in 1999. China is the main country of export for captive bred birds, followed by South Africa. Tanzania, once the only country in which Fischer’s Lovebirds occurred, lost all revenues resulting from the international trade of this species in only a matter of years. While the export ban was not the sole reason for the decline in benefits to Tanzanian trappers - wild populations had declined dramatically by the time of the export – and while captive breeding has resulted in other beneficiaries, it seems likely that more effective management of the trade earlier on in order to keep it at sustainable levels would have led to a different conservation and livelihood outcome.
Vicuña are wild camelids that inhabit high regions of the Andes of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile and Peru and are prized for their fine wool. Hunting of the species resulted in a decline of the species which led to both a regional agreement by the range States as well a CITES Appendix I listing prohibiting international trade. The populations have subsequently recovered to the point where commercial trade, according to certain conditions, is now permitted for a number of populations in all four countries. Communities in Peru have been given progressively more control over Vicuña, initially with use and stewardship rights and expanding to property rights (Lichenstein et al, 1999). In most cases, indigenous communities living in the Peruvian Puna are living below the poverty line and income generated from the sustainable management of Vicuña has significant potential to boost the local economy in the long term. Vicuña populations in Peru have increased from approximately 67 000 animals in 1994 to over 100 000 in 1997.
Commercial harvesting of devil’s claw Harpagophytum procumbens, the Southern African medicinal plant, has only taken place in South Africa for the past two years, but has been occurring in Namibia and Botswana since the 1960’s. Currently, Namibia exports approximately 600 t per annum and annual earnings amount to N$ 10 million (US$1,2 million). An estimate of 12 000 Namibians in the present economy depend on devil’s claw for their main source of income. The arid system of the Kalahari provides restricted livelihood opportunities for rural people and livestock production, mainly for subsistence purposes, has historically been the only livelihood option. Devil’s claw harvesting provides an opportunity for the generation of a cash income where few other sources of income are available. Earnings from harvesting are low with a typical harvester earning between R8 and R21 per kg (US$1,3 and US$3,5 per kg @ 2004 rates) of dried material harvested and prepared. Sliced dried tubers of devil’s claw are currently exported in their raw state and very little processing takes place in South Africa, Namibia or Botswana. Harvesters could obtain higher prices if more value adding steps in drug production took place within these exporting countries and Namibia, Botswana and South Africa are presently collaborating to investigate this option (Raimondo, 2002).
In late 1999, Germany proposed that the devils’ claw be listed on Appendix II of CITES. The range states of Namibia, Botswana and South Africa opposed the listing and it was consequently withdrawn to allow further research. Despite this opposition and NGO protest, the listing proposal had a number of long and medium term impacts.
A Resolution was adopted at the 11th Conference of the Parties to CITES, in terms of which Namibia and other range states that are exporters of devil’s claw are required to submit to the Secretariat all available information concerning the trade, management, regulatory measures and biological status of Harpagophytum Species.
The various impacts of the proposal were that it resulted in a drop in exports of devil’s claw in 2000, had a cost to Namibia in foreign exchange and a drop in income for harvesters. Lombard and du Plessis (2003) note that for devil’s claw, it seems that the perceptions around a CITES proposal scared off investors, that a CITES listing automatically implies a problem with the conservation status of the resource, and therefore an additional and serious commercial risk, and that the proposal to list was not helpful in encouraging sustainable use of devil’s claw. Two recommendations came out of a regional devil’s claw conference held in 2002:
• CITES listing and trade controls are only acceptable where they contribute to sustainable development; and
• CITES should promote awareness that listing does not mean that trade is unsustainable.
The over harvesting of Prunus africana bark, primarily from the wild in Cameroon has had a devastating effect on wild populations of the species. This overexploitation sparked conservation concerns, resulting in the species being listed in Appendix II of CITES in 1994 in order to monitor international trade in the species.
Despite the listing, unsustainable exploitation of Prunus africana is still commonplace. Quotas and permits are issued without reference to adequate biological baseline information (Sunderland and Tako, 1999) and the annual sustainable harvest level of Prunus africana in Cameroon has always been exceeded (Tieguhong, 2003). For example, in the Mount Cameroon area, the annual sustainable harvest level has been estimated at 209 tons, but each year over 500 tons are harvested, most of it, by illegal operators (MOCAP, 2004). It should be recognized, however, that monitoring the trade of Prunus africana is difficult, partly because it is traded in five different forms – unprocessed dried bark, bark extract, herbal preparations in the form of capsules, as a constituent of a hair tonic and as wood.
The impact of listing Prunus africana by CITES has, nevertheless, been partially effective in reducing threats as it has helped to raise awareness, both within Cameroon and internationally, about the problems posed by international trade. Several non-governmental, governmental and international bodies are now involved in programmes to promote sustainable management of wild populations, cultivation and monitoring of the trade. The Mount Cameroon Project, for example, has been working with villagers to promote the sustainable management of Prunus africana. Villagers are involved in monitoring the forest to guard against Prunus africana poachers and to help ensure, for legal harvest, that only a part of the bark is removed (Ndam, 2004). It is hoped that this and similar efforts will suffice to ensure that future supplies of the bark are harvested in sustainable ways.
In order to make CITES a better tool for sustainable development there is a need to make sure that CITES decisions are based on socio-economic as well as biological information through increasing awareness of livelihoods issues within the ‘CITES community’; including socio-economic information in the supporting statements for CITES proposals; ensuring that consumer decisions are based on livelihood as well as conservation concerns by increasing consumer awareness that the listing of a species in CITES is not necessarily a sign that it is threatened, and is not equal to a trade ban; and, exploring the potential to link CITES trade controls with certification schemes or other trade-related measures.
It is necessary to ensure that learning resulting from research on community-based wildlife management and NWFP development is brought into and informs decisions taken regarding the international wildlife trade in order to increase the potential for achieving conservation and development aims.
An IUCN report (Anon, 2000a) notes there are a myriad of factors that influence the effectiveness of a ban on international trade and conservation status of the species. Of key importance to the effectiveness of the ban on influencing the conservation status of a species is the relationship between the costs of enforcement and the conservation budget. A major drawback of such a ban is that it applies equally to those countries investing and those not investing in conservation of the specified species. Therefore, Appendix I of CITES may generate perverse incentives by treating all producer states equally, despite their different conditions and efforts to conservation.
Leader-Williams (2003) notes that overall, the CITES Appendix I listing of all five rhino species has failed to stop either trade or poaching within the rhino family. Indeed, the raised stakes caused by making international trade in rhino horn illegal was evidenced by soaring prices for rhino horn in consumer markets. In turn, this may have stimulated poaching in range states where rhinos were inadequately protected and where the incentive structure favoured poachers rather than conservationists. However, it is impossible to say whether the decline in Black Rhino numbers have been swifter without the listings as there is no available data to determine this. A number of economists believe that CITES has been responsible for regulating the extinction process in rhinos.
The international trade in bushmeat is very minor in comparison with the enormous domestic markets for meat. Recognizing cross-border movements in the bushmeat trade, CITES established a Bushmeat Working Group at the 11th Conference of the Parties to the Convention. The Working Group has no real regulatory role but rather promotes awareness and action to achieve better and sustainable management of the bushmeat trade (Bowen-Jones, 2003).
The CBD was signed by 150 government leaders at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit and entered into force in December 1993. There are currently 188 Parties to the Agreement. The three objectives of the Convention are: the conservation of biodiversity, the sustainable use of biological resources and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of genetic resources. The principles of the CDB are broad in scope and unlike CITES, the CBD does not contain detailed provisions on implementation. Accordingly, implementation of the CBD depends on the incorporation of the Convention and associated policies and guidelines into the national legislation of Member States.
Equitable access to biological resources and the sharing of benefits arising from the use of these resources are regulated in the CBD through Article 159. Following the establishment of a Panel of Experts at the 4th Conference of the Parties to the CBD, and the subsequent ad hoc open ended Working Group on access and benefit-sharing, the Working Group developed what are now known as the Bonn guidelines on Access and Benefit-Sharing. These guidelines are to be followed by the Parties to the CBD on a voluntary basis and their purpose is to provide guidance to policy makers and national legislators when taking legislative, administrative or policy measures. These guidelines are useful to all stakeholders through for instance provisions on roles and responsibilities in access and benefit-sharing, and suggested elements for Material Transfer Agreements (Guendling, 2003).
The Bonn guidelines themselves could not be described as trade-related measures as they cannot be enforced at a national level and implementation and enforcement depends on the development of national-level legislation. Numerous countries and regions have, however, either adopted or are in the process of adopting access and benefit-sharing policies and legislation.
Examples at a regional level include The Andean Community of Nations (Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia), which has developed The Common Regime on Access to Genetic Resources, 1996; and, The Organization of African Unity (which consists of 52 African States) which has developed The African Model Law on the Protection of the Rights of Local Communities, Farmers and Breeders and for the Regulation of Access to Biological Resources, 1998.
Because non-timber forest resources are such a complex and diverse group of products, they do not lend themselves to the development of general policies, enabling legislation or strategies. Promotion of the sustainable use of NWFP includes sound property rights and benefit-sharing provisions. The issues of property rights and benefit-sharing have received considerable attention in recent years. Having sound related legislation in place for NWFP is becoming increasingly important for NWFP that are traded internationally. Countries such as Costa Rica have demonstrated that having clear and transparent intellectual property rights and benefit-sharing legislation in place is helpful in attracting investments in developing biodiversity-derived products (Anon., 2003a).
In Costa Rica, the State exercises exclusive sovereignty over all components of biodiversity. Related laws regulate specifically the use, management, associated knowledge and equitable distribution of benefits on derived costs of the use of biodiversity. Costa Rica’s regulatory framework for access and benefit-sharing is summarized in an INBio-MINAE Co-operation agreement, which is an Agreement between the Costa Rican government’s National Biodiversity Institute (INBio) and Merck and Co. Inc (Merck), a research-driven multinational pharmaceutical services company. The agreement permits Merck to collect biological samples for the purpose of bioprospecting and requires 50% of any economic and material benefits INBIO receives though bio-prospecting to be transferred to the Costa Rican Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE) and that this amount is to be exclusively invested in the management and conservation of wild lands administered by MINAE. Access to knowledge and genetic resources requires prior informed consent from relevant stakeholders but distribution of benefits accrued from bioprospecting has been complex and does not appear to have significantly benefited rural communities (Joubert, 2003)
Verata is a country of eight villages located on the east coast of Viti Levu, Fiji. Through a series of agreements the University of the South Pacific is to supply to the Strathclyde Institute for Drug Research extracts of Fijian plants and marine organisms for use in the discovery of drugs and agrochemicals. The Verata community, in return for access to biological resources, receives the extract licensing fee. Approximately 300 were licensed in 1998 which resulted in an income of USD30 000 accruing to the community. The money is paid into a Trust fund that is to be used to finance activities and initiatives to promote the sustainable development of the Verata people (Joubert, 2003).
In an effort to reduce overexploitation and generate greater benefits for local communities from the commercial use of Prunus africana bark in Cameroon, an agreement - “The Agreement for Sustainable Management and Production of Prunus africana at Mapanja Village” - was signed between the main purchasing company, Plantecam Medicam, and the village of Mapanja in 1997. This agreement outlined general benefits for the village (e.g. increased revenues from higher payments per ton collected and training in sustainable management techniques) and serves the wider conservation objective of managing the species sustainably. The major impact of the agreement on conservation and development of Prunus africana is that the local people report a reduction in illegal and unsustainable harvesting of Prunus bark in most areas, increased economic benefits to the village and better monitoring of harvesting activity after the agreement was signed (Hall et al., 2000; Laird and Lisinge, 1998).
In the context of the CBD signed by Bolivia, the National Direction of Conservation of Biodiversity (DGB) defined an Action Plan for the Management of Wildlife in 1995. As part of this Action Plan, population evaluations of caiman were realised in the departments Beni and Santa Cruz during 1995 and 1996. Based on the outcomes of these evaluations, the first National Regulation of Handling (SD 24774) was passed in July 1997, comprising of an experimental management plan which allows the commerce of caiman in the departments of Beni and Santa Cruz with annual hunting quotas based on the evaluations. Besides, an experimental phase started based on a different hunting strategy using harpoons instead of the traditionally used traps, giving the possibility to select with more security only adult, male species.
Though the new hunting strategy is still in development, the regulated use of caiman seems successful, contributing to local livelihoods while hunting quotas based on population evaluations are not exceeded.
The Addis Ababa Principles and Guidelines for the Sustainable Use of Biodiversity consist of 14 interdependent practical principles, operational guidelines and a few instruments for their implementation that govern the use of components of biodiversity to ensure the sustainability of such uses.
The Fourth Open-ended Workshop for the Sustainable Use of Biological Diversity in 2003 saw the development of a set of fourteen practical principles and operational guidelines for the sustainable use of biodiversity. These were subsequently forwarded to the Seventh Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 7) in February 2004 where they were adopted.
Building on the outcome of the Addis Ababa workshop, the Conference of the Parties to the CBD requested the Executive Secretary to undertake further work on issues pertaining to use, of terms for sustainable use, adaptive management, monitoring and indicators and to convene a series of technical experts workshops on ecosystem services assessment, financial costs and benefits associated with conservation of biodiversity, and sustainable use of biological resources (Anon., 2004b).
The principles provide a framework to assist governments, resource managers, indigenous and local communities, the private sector and other stakeholders on how to ensure that their use of the components of biodiversity will not lead to the long-term decline of biological diversity. The principles are intended to be of general relevance, though not all principles will apply equally to all situations, nor will they apply with equal rigour.
While these guidelines are very general and, like the Bonn guidelines, do not strictly qualify as trade-related measures, their merit lies in their long-term assimilation and impact on the development of national and possibly regional or international laws and agreements or measures. The following Principles are relevant to the trade in NWFP.
Practical Principle 3: International, national policies, laws and regulations that distort markets which contribute to habitat degradation or otherwise generate perverse incentives that undermine conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, should be identified and removed or mitigated.
Practical Principle 12: The needs of indigenous and local communities who live with and are affected by the use and conservation of biological diversity, along with their contributions to its conservation and sustainable use, should be reflected in the equitable distribution of the benefits from the use of those resources.
CITES Res. Conf. 13.2 titled: Sustainable Use of Biodiversity: Addis Ababa Principles and Guidelines notes the potential use by CITES of the Sustainable Use Principles in CITES Article IV implementation and recognizes that the principles are to be tested through case studies. The Resolution urges parties to make use of the principles in making non-detriment findings.
Although forests may play an important role in the international response to climate change, Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCC) have often reached different conclusions regarding the proper role of forests and appropriate national legislation to foster that role. To date, national legislative activity (including trade-related provisions) on the issue of forests and climate change has been limited and Countries have relied more on the creative use of existing legislation than the creation of new legislation.
Under the FCC, the international community is committed to reducing net greenhouse gas emissions. The Kyoto Protocol to the FCC entered into force on 16 February 2005 and gives Parties listed in Annex I of the Protocol (mostly developed countries and countries with economies in transition) specific reduction targets. They can meet these targets by reducing emissions or by promoting carbon sinks and the reductions can be accomplished domestically or through cooperative actions involving other Parties to the Convention. The potential link to NWFP lies in the opportunities created through the Kyoto protocol for forest conservation and accordingly then to NWFP conservation (Rosenbaum et al, 2004).
The International Tropical Timber Agreement (ITTA) was adopted on 26 January 1994, being the successor agreement to the ITTA, 1983, which was adopted on 18 November 1983. The 1994 agreement entered into force on 1 January 1997 for an initial period of four years which has twice been extended, the latter extension period due to end on 31 December 2006. A successor agreement to ITTA, 1994 is currently being negotiated (Anon., 2003b). There are currently 58 members (Belgium and Luxembourg occupying a joint membership), comprising 32 producing and 26 consuming members, including the European Community. The agreement is open to any state that produces or consumes tropical timber, and to intergovernmental organizations having responsibilities in respect of the negotiation, conclusion, and application of international agreements. The members represent
90 per cent of world trade in tropical timber and over 75 per cent of the world's tropical forests (Anon., 2005c).
The International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO), established by the ITTA, 1983, administers the provisions and supervises the operation of this Agreement. It has the following mission statement: 'The ITTO facilitates discussion, consultation and international co-operation on issues relating to the international trade and utilization of tropical timber and the sustainable management of its resource base. Among its objectives are:
• to provide an effective framework for consultation, international co-operation, and policy development among all members with regard to all relevant aspects of the world timber economy;
• to provide a forum for consultation to promote non-discriminatory timber trade practices;
• to contribute to the process of sustainable development;
• to encourage members to support and develop industrial tropical timber reforestation and forest management activities as well as rehabilitation of degraded forest land, with due regard for the interest of local communities dependent on forest resources; and,
• to encourage members to develop national policies aimed at sustainable utilization and conservation of timber-producing forests and their genetic resources and at maintaining the ecological balance in the regions concerned, in the context of tropical timber trade.
The ITTO has adopted a number of policy guidance documents but it has been criticized for not having the mechanisms for ensuring that there is some follow-through on these policy pronouncements at the national level. For example, no country has yet enforced any of the ITTO guidelines. In addition, proposals for the ITTC to adopt resolutions which call for respecting livelihoods of forest dwelling peoples have consistently failed, although the ITTA calls for forest management activities ‘with due regard for the interests of local communities dependant on forest resources’.
Thus, although the ITTO helps enhance trade in tropical timber, and works towards enhancing conservation, its actual impact on helping to alleviate poverty is not likely to be significant (Tarasofsky, 2003).
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Protocol on Forestry is a regional policy framework that aims to foster cooperation in forestry and provide a common vision and approach to the management of the region’s forest resources. All but three SADC countries (Botswana, Mozambique and Namibia) signed the Protocol in October 2002 and ratification is yet to be completed.
The Protocol is aimed at promoting sustainable forest management and trade in forest products, consistent with the Forest Principles adopted at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) and the Proposals for Action of the Intergovernmental Forum on Forests (IFF)/Intergovernmental Panel on Forests (IPF)/United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) process. For easy alignment with national policies and legislation, the protocol was designed to be compatible with international initiatives such as the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, the Convention on Biological Diversity and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, to which all SADC member countries are signatories (Anon, 2004c).
While there are very few specific provisions dealing with NWFP, Article 12, on community-based forest management, requires State Parties to adopt national policies and mechanisms to enable local people and communities to benefit collectively from the use of forest resources and to ensure their effective participation in forest management activities. And, importantly, Article 18 on industry, trade and investment notes that State Parties which have substantial forest-based industries within their territories, shall:
• support the expansion of sustainable markets and sustainable trade in forest products throughout the Region; and
• develop, in accordance with international trade rules, a binding system of harmonised trade regulations that:
a) reduces or eliminates intra-regional barriers to trade in forest products in accordance with the Protocol on Trade; and
b) establishes harmonised standards for international trade in forest products from sustainably managed forests, including sanitary and phytosanitary standards relating to imported, exported and internally marketed forest products in accordance with sanitary and phytosanitary measures and standards and technical regulations on trade, as contained in the Protocol on Trade
State Parties are also required to develop specific product standards for wood and non-wood forest products, wherever appropriate to promote trade in forest products from sustainably managed forests in the Region, establish mechanisms for transboundary co-operation in enforcing controls concerning illegal trade in forest products, and adopt and apply appropriate measures to restrict or eliminate trade in protected tree species.
The SADC protocol accordingly offers a significant policy basis and set of commitments within the SADC region for the development of national-level legislation that could be of potential benefit to the conservation and sustainable use of NWFP.
The Association of Southeast-Asian Nations (ASEAN) Statement on CITES on the Occasion of the Thirteenth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES, Bangkok was announced on October 11 2004. It focuses on six key areas of cooperation, including improved law enforcement cooperation, development of comprehensive legal frameworks, and increased scientific information to guide wildlife trade management by CITES authorities. The 10 ASEAN nations agreed to develop an action plan for 2005-2010. The agreement aims to further promote regional cooperation through the establishment of bilateral and multilateral arrangements between enforcement agencies responsible for common boundaries, to achieve more effective control of illegal international trade in wild fauna and flora and their products. The potential thus exists for the ASEAN statement to ultimately develop into a trade-related instrument as well as spur further specific trade-related agreements, which would include components on NWFP.
The Treaty of Amazon Co-operation (TCA), between Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Surinam and Venezuela was signed on July 3 1978. The main objective of this treaty is to promote the harmonious development of the Amazon territory, exploring equal and mutually profitable results while preserving the environment, and promoting the rational use of the natural resources of the region.
It is expected that an institution will be created in terms of the Treaty in order to manage Treaty implementation and facilitate the generation of benefits to its members in the medium term, through the rational use of natural resources. It is anticipated that some of these benefits would be linked to the trade in NWFP.
Both tariff as well as non-tariff instruments are applicable to the international trade in NWFP and are applied by both importing and exporting countries for a variety of purposes. Tariffs, safety regulations and technical standards are the most common restrictions imposed by developed countries on the import of NWFP. Developing countries, being the major suppliers of NWFP to world markets, can also impose measures which either restrict or regulate the export of NWFP, with the most common form being an export tariff. Generally such tariffs are not for protection purposes since the final products concerned are not found or manufactured there. Tariffs into developing countries are comparatively much higher and are generally for protectionist purposes (Iqbal, 1993).
Iqbal (1993) notes that as far as non-tariff measures are concerned, species protection controls and health and safety regulations are the main categories of measures applicable to both the export and import of NWFPs. A number of these are described below:
Health and safety regulations: For NWFP this normally means Phytosanitary certificates and is specifically relevant to medicinal plants. The intention of health and safety regulations is to protect human and environmental health.
Quality and Technical standards: An example with respect to medicinal products is the European Commission, which has unified its standards into European Pharmacopoeia. For edible products, this would include regulatory measures on food hygiene and food labeling. Iqbal (1993) notes that national food legislation is the most formidable and usual obstacle to trade in related NWFP. For essential oils, the most widely recognized quality and trading standards are those set up by the International Standards Organization (ISO).
Species Protection Controls: These include national measures such as bans, quotas and import and export controls based on the level of threat faced by species concerned.
Non-tariff export measures include species conservation controls and health and safety regulations.
Prunus africana, a large evergreen tree that grows in the afromontane of Africa, produces one of the most highly commercialized NWFP from Cameroon with an increasing international commercial value, namely its bark. The bark of the tree is valued for medicinal purposes but over-harvesting of the bark, primarily from the wild, has had a devastating effect on wild populations of the species. Despite an official ban on Prunus aricana exploitation in 1991, which was lifted in 1992, a greater quantity
(3 900 tons) of Prunus africana was harvested and exported between 1991 and 1992 than in any preceding year, indicating the high level of corruption in the production zone (Cunningham et al, 1997). It is not clear whether the ban was merely ineffective or whether it stimulated trade.
The following breakdown of documents required for the export of NWFP from Bolivia demonstrates the bureaucratic hurdles that must be overcome by NWFP exported based in Bolivia:
• Commercial invoice of the merchandise
• Registration of the company by the Department of Forestry
• Copies of the Register of exporters or a Declaration of export
• Packing list
• Declaration of Export
• Conformity declaration
• Document of Transport
• Sanitary certificates issued by SENASAG
• Certificate of Origin
A number of those directly affect the trade of Brazil nuts, both in positive and negative ways. For instance the Conformity declaration requires that in order to obtain a refund of national taxes on an exported product or when the country of destination requires verification of origin, the exporter, at a cost, requests the Exporters Bureau System, for this service. This office then provides a declaration of Conformity once it has checked the quantity, quality and value of the merchandise to be exported. Sanitary certificates are issued by the competent authority that certifies to certify that the product is in good condition and meets appropriate food health standards. Despite the fact that Brazil nuts are a major export product for Bolivia, export-side sanitary certifications are a trade constraint due to delays in the issuing of certificates which cause subsequent export delays. While this has benefited medium and large companies small co-operatives and local communities continue to face export delays (Anon., in prep).
The procedure of the sanitary certificates is not easy especially for those cases of less known products, as in the case of Caiman skins and meat, and the list of requirements required to obtain the certificate can be very long and difficult to complete (Anon., in prep.).
Export tariffs are commonly levied on many NWFP exported from developing countries with their main objective being to secure revenue for the State. Excessive tax rates are counter-productive as they encourage illegal trade in the products to avoid the export tariff and reduce the price paid to collectors and harvesters (Iqbal, 1993).
In the situation of gum Arabic Acacia Senegal, the income of the farmers is reduced because of high taxation of gum Arabic by the Sudanese state authority. Thus, stimulation of destructive and unsustainable strategies is based mainly on the impact of government price policy on farm households. Taxation policy has also had a negative impact on the provision of direct and indirect benefits from gum Arabic production and may lead to increasing desertification (Pretzsch, 2003).
National level import controls can prove restrictive. For instance certain US regulations require wildlife to be imported through only certain ports and that no wildlife may be imported through postal services. This has been cited as an obstacle for small-scale insect retailers (Slone et al, 1997).
Trade controls related to wild plants and animals, and particularly animal species, can be complex and overlapping, resulting in confusion regarding their interpretation. For example, although national and CITES trade controls have permitted the export of the wool and wool products of Vicuna Vicugna vicugna from Peru and Chile sine 1995, until recently imports into the USA, a CITES member country, were banned under the US Endangered Species Act. This has proved to be a serious constraint on the Vicuna programme in Peru (Lichenstein et al, 2002). Similar confusion applies to the trade in butterflies. A leaflet from Australia’s Queensland Museum notes that even though butterflies traded through the IFTA may be legally obtained as tourist souvenirs within Papua New Guinea, imports into Australia are prohibited and such butterflies are regularly confiscated by the Australian customs authorities (Monteith, 2000).
In Thailand the Commodities Division in the Ministry of Commerce prepares a list of NWFP for which import is prohibited. Any species or product not on the list is importable, though this requires a permit. The list of prohibited imports may be influenced by what is produced in Thailand to protect these industries. Certain products, such as charcoal and rattan, can be imported but not exported (Anon., 2001a).
Vietnam is a source of illegal NWFP, a consumer, and a route for illegal trade in wild plants and animals from Cambodia and Lao PDR, much of which flows to China. Whilst several legal instruments regulate the export of timber and NWFP, there is limited legislation on the regulation of imports. The minimal regulation of imports is considered a major deficiency of the current regulatory system. The profusion of regulations creates a burden on enforcement personnel and exporters alike, which in turn tends to encourage a search for means to avoid compliance. Overlapping classifications of timber and NWFP also creates conflicts that can be exploited for noncompliance (Anon., 2001a).
In the case of Brazil nut initiatives in Peru and Brazil, the 1998 European Community regulation decreasing acceptable levels of aflotoxins was considered a serious threat to market access (Newing and Harrop, 2000). These regulations require all Brazil nut consignments exported to Europe to be accompanied by a certificate stating their origin and all nuts must be tested. The trade in the nut, which is a symbol of Brazil, is worth approximately US$ 3.3 million per year (Anon., 2003c). Sanctions imposed by the European Commission on the importation of Brazil nuts in their shells, due to the presence of a fungus thought to be carcinogenic, effectively brought an end to the export of the product to Europe as the Brazilian government and the private sector lacked the minimum infrastructure to meet the European standards.
The pressure of the EU regulations was a key factor in the development in Bolivia in 2001 of specific legislation on agricultural and food safety and sanitation, which makes provision for the establishment of an institution, the National Service of Agricultural and Food Safety and Sanitation, SENASAG. Specific regulations for Brazil nuts were approved on February 2001, which contain certification and sampling procedures for Brazil nuts, in accordance with EU regulations. Unfortunately, the process is not recognised by the EU authorities and sampling and analysis in European markets of Brazil nuts produced in Bolivia, is still required (Anon., in prep).
In general the import tariffs on NWFP are quite low. This is due to the fact that key international markets for NWFP, developed countries, do not in general produce the NWFP and there is accordingly not a need to introduce measures protecting local producers. Further, developed countries tend to maintain low tariffs in order to ensure a sustained supply of the products to meet domestic demands. Tariffs on NWFP into developing countries are often significantly higher due to the frequent need to protect local producers (Iqbal, 1993).
Non-timber forest resources are a more difficult group of products to certify than timber due to a multitude of factors, including their exceedingly diverse and idiosyncratic nature and social and ecological complexity. However, in spite of these challenges, opportunities exist to promote sound ecological and social practices in NWFP management and trade through market tools such as certification (Shanley et al, 2002).
Certification requires a high level of organization and technical sophistication from producers, especially with regard to management planning, monitoring, product tracing and marketing. The level of organization and sophistication required by certification programmes, not to mention their costs, will prevent most NWFP harvesters around the world from participating in certification initiatives unless they have access to sustained technical and financial assistance (Shanley et al., 2002)
The scope for certification of NWFP is accordingly limited to a small number of formalized, internationally traded products/species and in these cases it may be a potentially useful tool.
Certification is defined by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO, 1996) as: “a procedure by which written assurance is given that a product, process or service is in conformity with certain standards” (Walter et al. 2003a). There are four main certification schemes that can be applied to NWFP: Forest management, social (Fair and ethical trade), organic and product quality certification (Walter 2002).
Organic certification may be applicable to both cultivated and wild-harvested medicinal plants and has most frequently been applied to plants used in food and beverages, such as herbal teas, herbs and spices. The International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM), an NGO, and regional and national governments such as those of the European Union, the USA and Japan are among the major players globally in organic certification.
Fair trade certification for plant products is currently concerned almost exclusively with handicrafts, tea, fruits, nuts and other plant products that are not normally consumed primarily for medicinal purposes. The main purpose of this type of certification is to achieve social goals, e.g. to improve the position of poor and marginalized producers in the developing world. Fairtrade Labeling Organizations International (FLO), an NGO, is the main international body developing and certifying compliance with "fair trade" criteria. FLO lists 18 national initiatives, members of FLO authorized to certify products as meeting FLO standards and award the FLO logo. The International Fair Trade Association (IFAT) is another important global network of fair trade organizations. It supports and works closely with FLO.
The main demand for certified forest products comes from parts of Western Europe and the US with most of the demand is from retailers rather than the end consumer (Vantomme and Walter, 2002), although this may vary for certain products.
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO), a widely recognized international standardization body, also establishes quality standards. ISO standards with a bearing on medicinal plants include the ISO 9000 series (for management systems) and the ISO 14000 series (for environmental management).
Certification and labeling schemes have focused mainly on timber products and certification of NWFP has only been available under systems such as the FSC for the last half a decade (Pierce et al, 2003). It is accordingly very difficult to judge the performance of certification for NWFP due to the lack of case studies and available information. Existing literature and case studies do, however, point to some trends and future challenges for certification of NWFP.
The FSC states NWFP can be FSC certified when coming from (FSC) certified forests and when NWFP specific standards are used. These standards can be developed – based on a national and regional consultation process – by FSC-certified bodies or national (FSC) standard working groups. To date, seven FSC certificates have been issued for NWFP (Forest Stewardship Council, 2002):
• Chicle (Manilkara zapota) as ingredient in chewing gum, certified in Mexico in April 1999 by SmartWood;
• Maple syrup (Acer saccharum) as food product (sweet syrup), certified in the USA in August 1999 by SmartWood;
• Açai palm hearts and fruits (Euterpe oleracea) as food product and beverage, certified in Brazil in November 2000 (see also Donovan, 2000) by SmartWood;
• Brazil nuts (Bertholletia excelsa) as food product, certified in Peru in October 2001 by SmartWood and in Bolivia in March 2002;
• 30 plant species as ingredients in cosmetics in Brazil in October 2001 (see also Rainforest Alliance, 2003) by SmartWood;
• Venison (Cervus elaphus) as food product (bushmeat) in Scotland in May 2002 by SGS; and
• Oak tree bark (Quercus robur) as incense, certified in Denmark in July 2002 by the Soil Association.
Work on NWFP certification according to FSC standards is in progress regarding the certification of bamboo and rubber (by SKAL International) in India, maté (Ilex paraguenensis), palm hearts (Euterpeedulis), piacaca (Attalea funifera) in Brazil (by IMAFLORA), berries in Russia (by Soil Association) and Eucalyptus in Chile (by SGS-UK). Furthermore, in Brazil several projects are implemented to achieve certification for plants used as ingredients in cosmetics and phytoterapics (Forest Stewardship Council, 2002; pers. comm. P. Goeltenboth, WWF Germany, 23.03.2001).
In light of the fact that there is little information regarding NWFP certification the FAO has undertaken a number of case studies, which have some important conclusions. Walter et al, (2003a) carried out case studies of Brazil nuts Bertholletia excelsa in Bolivia, sheabutter Vitelleria paradoxa in Ghana and devil’s claw Harpagophytum spp. in Namibia.
Only two out of 24 existing processing plants in Bolivia sell organically certified nuts, with some of these being destined for the fair trade market. The largest Brazil nut exporting company in Bolivia is in the process of certification for ISO 9000-2000 standards and HACCP, and is also exploring international accreditation for its laboratory. The Bolivian Council for the Voluntary Forest Certification (CFV) affiliated to the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) has prepared the Bolivian standards for the certification of Brazil nuts and other NWFP (Anon., in prep.). So far only Brazil nuts have been approved and are subject to a FSC green certificate upon compliance. Certification is accordingly in its infancy for Brazil nuts but may grow as producers become more interested in the higher prices paid for certified products. The FSC standards developed for Brazil nuts and accepted in Bolivia in March 2002, include both forest management standards and social standards.
FSC forest management principles and criteria for Brazil nuts
At this moment, the largest threat to the forests and to Brazil nut production is not the actual harvesting of the Brazil nuts but rather forest degradation caused by other land use practises (Shanley et al, 2002). Therefore, in the case of Brazil nuts, forest management certification is not aiming in the first place on changing the current harvesting methods –though the FSC certification standards do include some criteria to make sure the extraction has no negative impact on the ecosystem or the future Brazil nut production- rather certification aims to promote sustainable forest management and protection of the forest from which the nuts are collected. The premium price paid for these certified nuts, give the forest from which they are collected an increased economic value making it more competitive with other, destructive, land-uses.
Furthermore, from the information on its production it becomes clear that many different stakeholders are involved in its market chain; social certification is an appropriate tool to ensure all stakeholders to benefit from the brazil nut commercialisation. Therefore, the FSC standards include criteria aiming at maintaining or enhancing the economic and social welfare of collectors and local communities, and the protection of the rights of indigenous people and their knowledge. In 2001, the first Fair Trade labelled Brazil nuts were sold at the price of US$ 0.58 / kg, being 153% of the conventional price paid that year per kg.
Sheabutter is mainly used in the food industry although there is a growing demand for it for cosmetics and pharmaceutical products. While there are only a small number of producers of certified sheabutter there is a large demand, and thus a potentially large market for this product. The start up costs and time required for organic certification as well as product traceability would be a challenge to overcome and would require the involvement of outside funding or partners to become involved.
There is only a very small supply of organically certified devil’s claw thus far and social certification systems such as fair trade have not, in general, been widely recognized by consumers of species for medicinal purposes even though some initiatives have shown positive results for harvesters. There are some concerns over the sustainability of the harvesting of devil’s claw, due to the fact that the tubers of the plant must be harvested.
The following are key issues and challenges with regards to NWFP certification: traceability, tenure rights, rural livelihood/empowerment, market potential, costs, harvesting and mainstreaming. It is also important to note that in some cases the resource is being harvested sustainably anyway and certification may make no differences. However, in cases such as devil’s claw, certification may in fact promote a more sustainable way of harvesting (Walter et al, 2003a or b?). There is also a lack of ecological information about NWFP life-cycles, reproduction, density and distribution. Forest criteria may be too timber orientated, forest management assessors are not trained in managing and assessing NWFP, and there is also a need for integration of timber and non-timber production and recognition of the role of NWFP in rural livelihoods (Pierce et al, 2003).
Aside from certification by large certifying bodies, there have been other initiatives that address similar issues, often for products that fall outside of existing categories. One example is the ‘Commercial Products from the Wild Consortium’, established in 1998 in Southern Africa. This was a development project essentially set up to ensure the sustainable utilization of indigenous plants for economic development. Some of their initiatives and projects enabled harvesters who were illegally harvesting bark in the Umzimkulu indigenous forest, to become licensed harvesters. This was done by creating access to the forest and ensuring sustainable harvesting, to ensure both plant survival and the harvesters livelihoods.
PhytoTrade (previously called SanProta) is a non-profit trade association that helps African rural producers develop and market their natural products for export. PhytoTrade promotes sustainable production and fair trade, aiming to contribute to the economic development of southern African countries. Phytotrade operates in Botswana, Malawi, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Although this is not a certification body the association has a Fair Trade charter which members have to follow, similar to a code of ethics.
Bolsa Amazonia is a regional programme operating in Bolivia, Brazil, Columbia and Ecuador aimed at the commercialisation of sustainable Amazonian products by involving rural communities and empowering them with capacity building and information. There are a number of communities involved for a variety of Amazonian products such as coconut fibre and Acai palm.
NWFP are probably not ideal for certification programmes as the products are often traded on a small scale in local markets. Where they are traded internationally it is often for a specific industry and also on a relatively small scale. Only some of the more popular products would be suitable e.g. palm hearts, bamboo, rattan and some medicinal plants. Certification can be done on a case by case basis but it is difficult to say how useful it is for such a wide group of products that are included in NWFP.
Box 4: Certifying Certification: Can certification secure a sustainable future for medicinal plants, harvesters and consumers in India?
India is home to an amazing diversity of plants, with over 46 000 plant species recorded to occur there. Many of these species are used for medicinal purposes, with approximately 760 known to be harvested from the wild for use by India's large herbal medicine industry. There is concern, however, that collection methods for many, if not most, of these species are destructive and wild populations are declining as a result.
Many medicinal plant species in India occur in forest areas and, along with other non-timber forest products (NWFP), fall within the scope of certification schemes aimed at sustainable forest management’
Numerous standards have been developed for assessing and ensuring the quality of medicinal plants (raw materials), their processing and end products. For example, in India, Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), required under a 2000 amendment to India's Drug and Cosmetic Act, 1940, are aimed at ensuring quality control in the making of products from medicinal plants.
While there is some independent certification of fair trade and organic standards for medicinal plants in India, this is largely restricted to teas and other plant products more usually associated with the mainstream food and beverage industry.
Assessment of current practices for medicinal plant harvests and trade, which derive from a long tradition within India, indicate that, even if the market conditions were ripe for third-party certification, the complex, informal and often opportunistic nature of the trade would not be conducive to it. Comparison of practices for collection and trade of medicinal plants in India with NWFP management requirements according to FSC Principles and criteria revealed a wide gap between current management approaches, harvest and trade and FSC-type standards.
Experiments to measure management of selected medicinal plants - high-value species, traded in high volumes, nationally and internationally - against some key international standards and criteria for forest management should be undertaken in some forest management divisions, particularly in States like Chattisgarh and Uttaranchal, which have declared themselves "herbal States". Similar assessments should be made with regard to third party chain of custody, organic, fair trade and quality certification, with a view toward measuring progress toward international targets and, possibly, the eventual setting of national standards. A review should also be made of the potential for group certification of small cultivators (Jain, 2004).
Even when it involves exchange uses, the most striking feature of NWFP subsistence practices is their location outside of the formal market. It is precisely this position that makes NWFP a continuously viable resource for individuals who are let down by the market. The return to their labour has immediate survival benefits. Where products have not entered the intensive commodity market, there is minimal competition for the resource and little or no investment is required beyond time and effort. Certification programmes introduced to such areas run the risk of introducing the contradictions between market processes and subsistence uses of NWFP to the detriment of the latter.
However, where NWFP have been heavily commoditised, market process may already jeopardize subsistence uses and appropriately designed certification programmes might be used to provide some protection for them. There may be opportunities for certification programmes to do so when focused upon products that have long-standing exchange value and do not have a traditionally important use value where they are harvested.
Certification of timber may be helpful to NWFP, for example, andiroba oil Carapa guianensis which is one of the most popularly consumed medicinal in urban and rural areas of Amazonia. Heavily logged, its numbers are declining, prohibiting its use by many rural villagers who depend on it as an insect repellant and remedy for bruises, sprains and rheumatism. Uxi Endopeura uchi is a tree bearing a distinctly flavoured fruit utilised in the cream and juice industries. Eluding domestication, it is still largely gathered from wild sources and its value as a timber species has seen its decline in particular regions. These and many other fruit and medicinal oil species are not only important for their nutrition and health care of the rural and urban poor but may also offer a greater economic value standing than cut down. While NWFP are mentioned in the FSC principles, the concept is not elaborated upon.
The knock-on effects of sustainable forestry, for example through FSC certification, could be that governments in developing countries, in dialogue with bilateral donors, might start to see the potential for sustained income generation and other social benefits from NWFP, such as bushmeat. If this led to longer contracts on concessions this could favour companies operating under good practice-guidelines. Ultimately, it might spark changes to in-country governmental regulation of concession allocation (Bowen-Jones, 2003).
Chain of custody requires that forestry operations have tracking systems in order to ensure that products offered for sale come from well managed forests and that certified products are not mixed with non certified products on their way to the market. This is easier for goods that are physically large and also where they do not come from numerous sites. There are methods to ensure that the chain of custody does not have weak points but it is very difficult for some NWFP such as Brazil nuts which are traded in bulk as commodities. There are technical ways of addressing this through e.g. different packaging and transport options and this has been done by FSC, Fairtrade and Organic (Shanley et al, 2002).
Certification has room to improve its technical assessment procedures for NWFP. It remains to be seen how certification will handle more challenging products such as epiphytes, mushrooms and primary forest herbs, particularly when such products are harvested from public lands (Shanley et al, 2002).
NWFP are not inherently ideal for certification – they are mostly consumed locally at a subsistence level, are traded locally and regionally and most are not featured in markets open to green or fair trade messages. Only in a few exceptional cases do NWFP find their way into international markets that may be receptive to eco-labeling – such as the luxury food, medicinal herb and floral trades (Shanley et al, 2002)
6 Paragraph 19 of the Doha Ministerial Declaration
7 Paragraph 32 of the Doha Ministerial Declaration
8 Paragraph 31 of the Doha Declaration
9 Article 15. Access to Genetic Resources
1. Recognizing the sovereign rights of States over their natural resources, the authority to determine access to genetic resources rests with the national governments and is subject to national legislation.
2. Each Contracting Party shall endeavour to create conditions to facilitate access to genetic resources for environmentally sound uses by other Contracting Parties and not to impose restrictions that run counter to the objectives of this Convention.
3. For the purpose of this Convention, the genetic resources being provided by a Contracting Party, as referred to in this Article and Articles 16 and 19, are only those that are provided by Contracting Parties that are countries of origin of such resources or by the Parties that have acquired the genetic resources in accordance with this Convention.
4. Access, where granted, shall be on mutually agreed terms and subject to the provisions of this Article.
5. Access to genetic resources shall be subject to prior informed consent of the Contracting Party providing such resources, unless otherwise determined by that Party.
6. Each Contracting Party shall endeavour to develop and carry out scientific research based on genetic resources provided by other Contracting Parties with the full participation of, and where possible in, such Contracting Parties.
7. Each Contracting Party shall take legislative, administrative or policy measures, as appropriate, and in accordance with Articles 16 and 19 and, where necessary, through the financial mechanism established by Articles 20 and 21 with the aim of sharing in a fair and equitable way the results of research and development and the benefits arising from the commercial and other utilization of genetic resources with the Contracting Party providing such resources. Such sharing shall be upon mutually agreed terms.