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  • Biodiversity

    Several million households in the developing world depend heavily on biodiversity products for subsistence income and to meet health and nutritional needs, according to the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO). High market demand threatens sustainability. Green certification schemes can help ensure sustainable supply and improved quality. However, producers often do not have the knowledge and resources to meet standards and conservation requirements.

    ITC works with small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and trade support institutions (TSIs) in overcoming these obstacles and improving access to international markets. The objective of ITC's programme on biotrade is threefold:

    • to assist SMEs in meeting market requirements in biodiversity based products,
    • to work with SMEs and TSIs to access international and regional trade networks,
    • to improve access to high quality information on biodiversity based market opportunities and policies


    ITC offers information on biodiversity based trade issues through publications, technical papers, articles and presentations.

    Technical papers

    • Overview of World Production and Marketing of Organic Wild Collected Products, 2007, 106 pages. The demand for organic wild collected products is significant. Products for direct food consumption, such as berries, nuts, mushrooms and a large number of herbs are the main items. This publication discusses terminology used in wild collection, gives an overview of organic and other standards that relate to wild collection and provides data and background information about collection and marketing of certified organic wild collected products.
    • Marketing Manual and Web Directory for Organic Spices, Culinary Herbs, Essential Oils, 2006, 60 pages. This manual builds on information compiled through consultancy and mission seminars in Africa and South America, as well as other activities carried out under this project. It is designed to address the needs of producers and exporters in developing countries for specific technical and market information in order to develop their organic enterprises and to export the products covered to target markets. This 2nd edition (July 2006) adds a number of producers and importers to the database. New links to sites dealing with quality management including the use of sterilisation methods for finished products and mycotoxin prevention advances are in Annex IV.


    • Market Brief on US Market for Natural Ingredients in Dietary Supplements and Cosmetics, 2003, 132 pages. This Market Brief profiles the US market for natural ingredients that are used in the cosmetic and/or dietary supplement industries. It highlights selected Andean products that have potential for capturing a larger share of the US market. The range of natural ingredients covered in this report includes medicinal and aromatic herbs, medicinal herbal extracts and vegetable saps, pectic substances, vegetable mucilages and thickeners, ground-nut oils, fixed oils including castor oil, flaxseed oil, jojoba oil and hemp oil, vegetable waxes and insect waxes such as beeswax, cocoa butter, plant-based colorants such as annato seed, essential oils, resinoids, and oleoresins. Click here to download in pdf.

    Data and Research

    Expand this section to see the top exporting and importing countries for essential oils.
    Click on the thumbnail to the left to see the top exporting countries of essential oils displayed on a map.Click on the thumbnail to the left to see the top exporting countries of essential oils displayed on a map.
    Click on the thumbnail to the left to see the top importing countries of essential oils displayed on a map.Click on the thumbnail to the left to see the top importing countries of essential oils displayed on a map.

    Advisory Services

    ITC’s core expertise is best suited to facilitate translation of conservation goals into viable private sector practices as per the Decision IX/6 of the ninth Conference of the Parties (COP9) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), “to work on trade promotion for biodiversity-based products which are produced in a sustainable manner and compatible with the three objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity, through capacity building, enhancing market access, promoting enabling environments and engaging relevant public and private actors”.
     Click here to request more information about our advisory services in biotrade.


    Training can be tailor-made for projects related to the sustainability of collection and product quality, capacity building of companies and compliance with market requirements, policy strengthening support to governments and partners, identification of new markets and diversification of client base, promotion of best practice and trade fair participation.
     Click here to request more information about training services in biotrade.


    Through its technical assistance, ITC supports exporters of biodiversity based products and trade support institutions in developing countries.

    National and regional biotrade projects:

    • ITC has delivered a commercial platform in Latin America through the Latin Pharma regional initiative (buyer-sellers meeting) aimed at promoting intra-regional trade in pharmaceuticals and biotrade (natural) products.
    • ITC has identified Peru as a recipient of a three-year technical assistance project (2010-2013). Raised incomes of SMEs and biotrade producers in Peru will be the principle impact of this project. ITC will focus its technical assistance to the biotrade sector on these three core problem areas:
      • Capacity to meet market requirements
      • Access to international and regional markets
      • Lack of access to market information and analysis
  • Highlights


    IFC’s Performance Standards on Environmental and Social Sustainability has been reference on ITC’s Standards Map...

    A4T AlexK

    Greater focus on the environment would be a win-win scenario for the Aid for Trade initiative and beneficiary countries


    Blog gives perspective on trade and environment-related issues, new comment feature encourages sharing of ideas


    A Letter to Nature in June reports that 30% of global species threats are due to international trade. Consumers in developed countries is threating to species through their demand for commodities that are produced in developing countries.


    WHO: The International Trade Centre (ITC), a joint agency of the UN and WTO, is hosting side-events within Rio+20 which focus on trade opportunities in the green economy. WHY:There are new and innovative opportunities in trade for sustainable development...


    When countries convene at this year’s United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio+20, both the venue, Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, and the overall objective of the conference, sustainable  development, will be the same as 20 years ago at the...


    As the world recovers from the economic downturn that followed the 2008 financial crisis, it has become clear that industrial development models created in the past are increasingly unsustainable, both economically and environmentally. Economic progress...


    In 2011, the TEP began a new collaboration with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). ITC will analyze the trade in python skins and look at ways to strengthen the sustainability of the trade.


    Through its Trade, Climate Change and Environment Programme (TCCEP), ITC is strengthening the competitiveness of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and trade support institutions (TSIs) in agri-environmental sectors in developing countries....


    A small miracle was recorded on Cambodia’s northern plains in 2009. Deep in the forest, not too far from the ancient temples of Angkor Wat, the number of giant ibis, a critically endangered species, had jumped. Nick Butler, coordinator...