Switzerland yesterday contributed $2.5 million to a new partnership that will help developing countries market their biodiversity products abroad. The partnership, called the BioTrade Facilitation Programme (BTFP), will be carried out by UNCTAD and the International Trade Centre UNCTAD/WTO (ITC).
In announcing the contribution, Swiss State Secretary for Economic Affairs David Syz and UNCTAD Secretary-General Rubens Ricupero said in Geneva that the partnership - one of three partnerships launched by UNCTAD in Johannesburg last September at the World Summit on Sustainable Development - "will play a crucial role in making the concept of sustainable use of biodiversity an economic reality". (For background, see TAD/INF/PR48 of 22 August.)
Biodiversity - the millions of microbial, plant and animal species that inhabit the planet - is a crucial source of food, clothing, housing and medicines. It also comprises oils, dyes, resins and fibres and other substances used in cosmetics and pharmaceuticals, as well as timber, handicrafts, nuts and tropical fruits. Increased consumer demand for these products holds great potential for bio-businesses in developing countries, which could help support entire populations and at the same time provide an incentive to use that biodiversity sustainably.
BTFP works in part through matchmaking between enterprises, product and strategy development, certification and support of participation in trade fairs. In addition to UNCTAD and ITC, other major partners include the Swiss Import Promotion Programme (CBI) and the Dutch Centre for the Promotion of Imports from Developing Countries (SIPPO).