C. van 't Klooster
- Prunus africana (Hook. f.) Kalkman: the overexploitation of a medicinal plant species and its legal context
- Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine
- Volume | Issue number
- 20 | 11
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
The linkage between herbal medicines and the sustainability of medical plants from which they are manufactured is increasingly being understood and receiving attention through international accords and trade labeling systems. However, little attention is paid to the fair trade aspects of this sector, including the issue of benefit-sharing agreements with traditional societies whose knowledge and resources are being exploited for commercial herbal medicine development and production.
This article examines the case of Prunus africana (Hook.f.) Kalkman, from equatorial Africa. While the conservation and cultivation dimension of the trade in P. africana has been much discussed in literature, no research appears to have focused on the traditional resource rights and related ethical dimensions of this trade in traditional medicine of Africa. Serving as a cautionary tale for the unbridled exploitation of medicinal plants, the history of P. africana extraction is considered here in the context of relevant treaties and agreements existing today. These include the Nagoya Protocol, a supplementary agreement to the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights agreement from the World Trade Organization, and two African regional frameworks: the Swakopmund Protocol and the Organisation Africaine de la Propriété Intellectuelle Initiative.
In the context of strengthening medicinal plant research in Africa, a novel international capacity-building project on traditional medicines for better public health in Africa will be discussed, illustrating how access and benefit sharing principles might be incorporated in future projects on traditional medicines.
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