|Medicinal Plants: Rescuing a Global Heritage (World Bank, 1997, 80 pages)|
With the possible exception of China, developing countries lack a national or regional agency with an exclusive mandate for medicinal-plant conservation and cultivation. Action is needed to produce clearly-defined policies to regulate medicinal-plant conservation, cultivation, and trade practices. This requires that governments recognize the inter-sectoral relationship between natural resource management, agriculture and forestry, trade and commerce, and healthcare.
Recognizing the widespread reliance of rural and urban peoples on medicinal plants for their basic healthcare needs, a biodiversity policy should explicitly identify the importance of sustainable use of medicinal plants and their habitat conservation.
An active education and awareness program that recognizes the needs of indigenous peoples, local communities (especially women), private businesses and government agencies (state and national) is imperative if regulatory policies are to promote successfully the conservation and protection of medicinal plants.
Clear policies and legislation that recognize the legal rights of individuals and communities who use and depend on medicinal plants for the healthcare needs should be affirmed by governments to protect the rights of customary knowledge holders.
To inhibit trade of threatened and vulnerable medicinal-plant species both developing and developed countries must create a statutory framework and then fully fund its implementation. A closer link with CITES would be appropriate.
A major constraint to the identification of national policies and regulations is the lack of national inventories and prescription guidelines (pharmacopoeias).