BioTrade Programmes at the National Level

More than sixteen years after UNCTAD launched the BioTrade Initiative with the aim of promoting trade and investment in biodiversity as a means of furthering sustainable development, a number of countries, regions and national and international stakeholders have made remarkable progress in embracing BioTrade concepts and principles as integral parts of their strategies. Furthermore, BioTrade is being recognized as a tool to address poverty alleviation and to support sustainable livelihoods in developing countries.

National Programmes

BioTrade is currently implementing 8 national programmes in Africa, Asia and Latin America




Bolivia Country Programme


The BioTrade Programme of Bolivia (Programa Nacional de Biocomercio Sostenible - PNBS) was launched in 2003 with the objective of stimulating the production and trade of biodiversity products and services following ecological, social and financial sustainability criteria.

Thought this, it aims to strengthen local economies related to biodiversity and to create linkages with national and international markets. Currently, the Programme is being incorporated into the activities of the Bolivian Vice-Ministry of Biodiversity and Natural Resources. Morever, Fundación Amigos de la Naturaleza (FAN), that managed the Programme from mid-2005 until 2008, continues supporting BioTrade value chains through their BioTrade Department.

The National BioTrade Programme in Bolivia and its practitioners have played an active role in the regional activities developed under the Andean BioTrade Programme, the Amazon BioTrade Programme and both phases of the BioTrade Facilitation Programme (BTFP).

To date BioTrade sectors being supported in Bolivia include:

  • Fauna: caiman yacare, tegu lizard, peccary and capybara
  • Food and nutraceuticals: native cocoa (Theobroma cacao), maca (Lepidium meyenii), native honey, palqui (Acacia feddeana), among others
  • Cosmetics: majo, cupuazu, cusi, isotonbo, copaibo; and
  • Rustic constructions (bamboo and jatata).

For further information, please visit:




Colombia Country Programme


In Colombia, the Sustainable BioTrade Programme known as Biocomercio Sostenible, was launched in 1999, as a worldwide pioneer initiative. It was created with the support of UNCTAD, the Ministry of Environment, housing and Sustainable Development-MAVDT (previously the Ministry of Environment) and the Alexander von Humboldt Institute. Its objective is "to create and foster mechanisms that enhance the investment and trade of biodiversity-based products and services that use sustainable criteria, and complements and supports local and regional development efforts for the progress of Colombia".

The Programme has established an efficient and team-oriented network throughout Colombia, especially in remote areas, through which technical assistance is delivered to rural communities and small and medium-sized enterprises. Biocomercio Sostenible has evolved in the past years and is currently being managed by the National Technical Committee on Biodiversity and Competitiveness (CTNBC) (created by Presidential Decree 2828 of 23 August 2008). Within Biocomercio Sostenible, the "Observatorio de Biocomercio" (BioTrade observatory) or OBIO was developed as to promote BioTrade in Colombia.

Other key actors working in Colombia are:

  • Fondo Biocomercio Colombia (BioTrade Fund): created in 2006 to help businesses implement their BioTrade activities and access to national, regional and international markets.
  • Sinchi Institute: an independent research institution associated to MAVDT and is focused in the Amazon region of Colombia
  • Corporacion Biocomercio Sostenible: is an NGO that seeks to promote the use of biodiversity and environmental conservation to support sustainable development, with an emphasis on BioTrade.


Biocomercio Sostenible is actively involved in the regional BioTrade programmes for the Andes and the Amazon regions, including those activities implemented by BioCAF, BioCAN and UNCTAD. To date, Biocomercio Sostenible focuses its efforts on the following sectors:

  • Natural ingredients
  • Helicons and foliage
  • Amazonian fruits o Honey and derivates
  • Sustainable agriculture
  • Guadua
  • Accessories and handicrafts
  • Ecotourism
  • Fauna: caiman, flowers, etc.


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Costa-Rica Country Programme


The National Biodiversity Institute (INBio) led the formulation process of the BioTrade National Program of Costa Rica with technical support from UNCTAD and with political support from the National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC) of the Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE). The formulation process was developed from 2005 to 2006 and included:


  • The recommendation on the structure of an Advisory Board to the project with key representatives from the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Commerce (MEIC), the Ministry of Foreign Trade (COMEX), SINAC/MINAE and INBio
  • Two national workshops with different stakeholders for the conceptualization and validation of the definition, principles and criteria of BioTrade in the Costa Rican context
  • A study of the Offer and Demand of Goods and Services from Biodiversity and a workshop involving private sector representatives to identify potential demands based on the existing offer of products and services
  • The undertaking of an assessment of the legal framework for BioTrade in Costa Rica The elaboration of a national assessment focused on relevant BioTrade products and services condense the results of the activities that have been accomplished to date. The final product is a proposal for a BioTrade National Program of Costa Rica.


The following have been envisaged as important BioTrade sectors at the national level: Butterflies and Ecotourism
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Ecuador Country Programme


In 2001, Ecuador launched the National Sustainable BioTrade Programme - Ecuador, PNBSE (Programa Biocomercio Sostenible Ecuador) as an initiative of the Ministry of Environment and UNCTAD. 

The programme coordination is implemented by the Export and Investment Promotion Corporation (CORPEI) in strategic alliance with the environmental NGO EcoCiencia. The Programme's mission is to "facilitate sustainable development and biodiversity conservation in line with the objectives of the CBD, through the promotion of trade and investment activities which boost the use of Ecuadorian resources".

The PNBSE acts as a facilitator entity, which works under the value chain approach guided by market demand. It provides its support to strengthen sectors that use native biodiversity through technical assistance and coaching, contacts, information and co-funding in each stage of the value chain. It has worked on issues business and commercial strengthening, associativity, access to the market, costs analysis, quality improvement, sustainable management of biodiversity, compliance with national regulations and principles of ecological, social and economic sustainability, among others. This is achieved through local and national organizations which are grouped under the BioTrade Network, hence it uses existing knowledge and expertise in order to optimize the use of resources.

It currently works in the following sectors: food, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, sustainable tourism, and handicrafts. The Programme has been involved in projects with the Dutch Embassy, the Organization of American States, the RAMSAR Convention and the Global Mechanisms, among others. It is involved in UNCTAD activities as well as in the Amazon and Andean BioTrade programmes, and the BioCAF and the BioCAN projects in particular.

For further information, please visit:




Indonesia Country Programme


Indonesia is one of the megadiverse countries and therefore has also a lot of potential to implement BioTrade activities. In order to identify and assess relevant BioTrade value chains to be supported, a national assessment is being implemented since late 2010 using BioTrade's value chain methodology.

The final product of this process is a proposal for a BioTrade Programme in Indonesia. As BioTrade represents a way to integrate the sustainable use of natural resources to support economic development in areas of high biodiversity, it has the potential to contribute significantly to the economic reintegration work being supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). For this reason and in addition to the work carried out at the national level, a Pilot project on BioTrade and Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) is being implemented in Aceh Selatan, Indonesia.

This pilot supports the reintegration of ex-combatants, particularly women and minority groups, through the development of value added products (e.g. nutmeg) sold to local, national or international markets. This initiative is implemented by UNDP - Indonesia with the support of UNDP/Bureau of Crisis Prevention and Recovery (BCPR) in Geneva and UNCTAD.




Peru Country Programme


 The Peru National BioTrade Promotion Programme (NBPP) was launched with institutions from the public and private sectors. The Ministry of Trade and Tourism (MINCETUR) is the President of the NBPP. The Peruvian Export and Tourism Promotion Board (Promperu) and the Peruvian Amazon Research Institute (IIAP) managed jointly the Technical Secretariat of the NBPP. Other members are the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, of Production and of Environment, the National Council for Science and Technology (CONCYTEC), the Peruvian Export Association (ADEX), the Peruvian Institute of National Products (IPPN), among others. 

The mission of the Programme is to promote the creation and consolidation of native biodiversity businesses in Peru, as an incentive for its conservation. The latter applying environmental, social and economical sustainability criteria in line with the objectives of the National Biodiversity Strategy and the Convention on Biological Diversity (ENDB & CBD). The NBPP aims to contribute to the economic development of rural areas in the country through an adequate management of their biodiversity and by capturing the market demand for these products.

The NBPP has defined four strategic lines to implement its activities:​
  • Development of a competitive supply in Peru
  • Promotion and Market Access
  • Fostering Research and Innovation
  • Political Advocacy and Institutional capacity-building.

It is in through these strategic lines that the Programme offers assistance to productive companies and organizations for the development of projects and activities that fulfill BioTrade principles and criteria. For example, PeruNatura trade fair is the main promotion platform for the products developed under the BioTrade framework. This fair is organized during the Expo Alimentaria Peru Fair with the support of Promperu and the PeruBiodiverso Project (SECO/GTZ). In its last edition in 2010, 27 BioTrade initiatives participated and reported sales of US$5.725 millions for the next 12 months. 

To date, the NBPP is focused in the natural products and ingredients sector. The Peru National BioTrade Promotion Programme partners with many international organizations including CAN, CAF, GEF, UNEP, UNCTAD, SECO and GIZ.

For further information, please visit:



Uganda Country Programme
The BioTrade Programme in Uganda (BTIU) was initiated through a bilateral understanding between UNCTAD and the Ministry of Tourism, Trade and Industry (MTTI) in 2003. The BTIU is the first national programme of the UNCTAD BioTrade Initiative to be launched in Africa.
After an assessment of the country's potential in relation to BioTrade, four sectors were selected to be promoted and supported by BioTrade Initiative Uganda: a) Natural ingredients; b) wild-life trade; c) eco-tourism; d) carbon trade. This assessment was the basis for launching the BTIU in 2005 aimed "to facilitate and promote trade in biological goods and services for employment creation, increased trade and to contribute to poverty alleviation and the sustainable use of Uganda's natural resources".
The BTIU is implemented under the Uganda Export Promotion Board (UEPB) and responds to the country export diversification strategy and integration of trade into environment conservation. The Uganda Export Promotion Board (UEPB) aims to facilitate the development, diversification, promotion and coordination of all export related activities that lead to export growth on a sustainable basis.
Since its establishment, the BTIU has been working with the MTTI (as a policy focal point), Uganda Integrated Programme (funded by Norway), as well as with technical agencies such as the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) and Eco-Trust. Activities have also been developed jointly with UNCTAD BioTrade, the International Trade Centre (ITC), the Dutch Centre for the Promotion of Imports from developing countries (CBI), the Global Mechanisms, among others.
To date the Programme focuses its efforts on the following sectors:
  • Natural ingredients for food, cosmetics and pharmaceutics
  • Ecotourism o Wildlife
For further information, please visit:



Vietnam Country Programme

The activities in Vietnam are implemented with the kind support of the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) under the project "Development of BioTrade activities within the natural ingredients sector (Period 2012 - 2014)".
The projects contributes to Vietnam becoming a recognized supplier of natural ingredient products traded through supply chains that conform to the principles of BioTrade and the objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). This project aims to support the development of value chains based on native the medicinal species which can be used in the pharmaceutical, cosmetic and food sectors.
The BioTrade Programme in Vietnam was officially launched in May 2012during the kick-off workshop were national and international stakeholders participated. It is implemented by Helvetas/Swiss Intercooperation Vietnam and the National Institute of Medicinal Materials (NIMM), as the national partner, will also support the development of BioTrade in Vietnam.
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