(1) To overcome significant knowledge deficits, a global MAP cultivation survey should be commissioned by an international organization. Aims are to identify species cultivated, in which countries they are grown, volumes produced and their market values. This survey should also assess public domestication programmes, as well as in-situ and ex-situ conservation efforts for wild populations of species in cultivation (e.g., in protected areas, in genebanks and botanic gardens).
(2) Wild harvesting of MAP will continue to prevail owing to economic reasons outlined above. Sustainable wild harvest management schemes need to be supported by governments and authorities. Management plans need to be installed as a standard prerequisite for any such harvesting in the wild. There is a need to monitor and audit the harvesting process to determine whether it is sustainable.
(3) Primary producers need help to improve returns from sustainable harvesting of MAP. Community based small scale cultivation enterprises need to be strengthened to enable them to compete with large-scale high-tech cultivation.
(4) Secure ex-situ field gene banks need to be developed, particularly for habitat specific, slow-growing species with high susceptibility of being over-harvested.
(5) Medicinal plant domestication programmes need to be expanded, taking fuller advantage of the genetic and chemical diversity within species over wide geographical areas.
(6) Capacity to assess and monitor the conservation status of MAP and to manage harvest within the limits of sustainability is extremely limited worldwide and needs to be developed through training courses and curriculum development in ethnobotany and applied ecology . Research to investigate the sustainability of production systems is lacking and needs to be stimulated for a better understanding of the biological dynamics of the resource in the wild and in domestication.
(7) Management planning has to take the diversity of tenure systems which apply to medicinal plants into account to a far greater degree. Clarification of user rights over the resource and access to it, particularly where it is considered common property, needs to be recognized as a crucial factor enabling or preventing a sustainable harvest from wild populations.
(8) Eco-labelling and other social and economic incentives to strengthen market credibility and competitiveness of biodiversity-friendly products need to be promoted. The efforts of certifiers to develop certification standards for wild harvested plant material need to be supported as well as the approaches of industry to set up self-binding product quality standards. The private sector should be encouraged to consider local livelihoods and biodiversity when setting up ethical and environmental standards.
(9) Conservation of medicinal plants currently lacks priority in policy and law. There are opportunities to change this within the implementation of legal instruments such as the CBD and CITES. Government policies and legislation need to be adapted and implemented to recognize the value of and need for sustainable wild harvesting management regimes, to implement national and/or regional permit systems and make medicinal plant conservation a priority for national health and economic policy.
(10) The Global Environment Facility (GEF) needs to consider medicinal plant conservation as a programme priority worthy of funding.
(11) Medicinal plants warrant priority in national efforts to implement the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation of the CBD.
(12) Local communities can take more responsibility for sustainable harvest of medicinal plants only if they have the choices afforded by adequate income, control over the resource and the knowledge and skills required. On the issue of intellectual property rights it needs to be elaborated how the country, the local user or other entity can be adequately compensated for use of the resource by outsiders.