Enhancing biodiversity export opportunities from Madagascar
The island of Madagascar has one of the highest levels of poverty in the world. It also has one of the highest levels of biodiversity, home to more endemic species than any other country, according to the World Wildlife Fund. Natural capital represents 49% of the country’s wealth. Madagascar can foster social development through trade in natural resources while conserving its biodiversity. However, it faces challenges in enhancing the legal and appropriate use of its wildlife and natural resources in a sustainable manner.
In October 2014, ITC co-hosted a round-table event with the Office of the Minister for Trade and Consumer Affairs in the capital, Antananarivo, to develop a strategic plan for the country. It brought together stakeholders from all levels of the value chain and from several natural resource sectors to discuss opportunities and challenges for Madagascar’s trade in natural resources. Following the discussions, ITC is drafting an environment action plan based on ideas and lessons learned. The plan aims to identify projects that will strengthen the links between biodiversity conservation and trade.
During the round table, ITC, the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Kering announced their collaboration on a multi-year programme to support the monitoring and sustainable management of trade in Nile crocodiles, a CITES-listed species, from Madagascar. The goal of the Madagascar Crocodile Conservation and Sustainable Use Programme is to foster economic opportunities and improve local livelihoods through the long-term conservation of crocodiles and their habitats.
ITC Executive Director Arancha González says the partnership will leverage private and public investment and skills, helping to ‘increase incomes and safeguard an important natural resource for marginalized rural communities’.
ITC is also supporting women’s associations in Makira Natural Park through train-the-trainer programmes to strengthen the climate resilience of raffia harvests, improve product quality and support production of eco-friendly goods for overseas markets.