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We need stronger efforts to conserve medicinal biodiversity, say Jeffrey A. McNeely, chief scientist at the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Sue Mainka, senior coordinator of IUCN's Global Programme.

Safeguarding medicinal biodiversity requires action by all stakeholders — international bodies, governments and indigenous peoples, say the authors.

At the international level, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change should address human health and biodiversity under the climate change umbrella. And organisations such as the Convention on Biological Diversity, the World Trade Organization and the WHO should be working together to protect medicinal biodiversity, implement human and animal health controls and address potentially harmful invasive species.

At the national level, governments should be coordinating the activities of health, transport, trade and environment agencies. And indigenous peoples need better provisions on access to genetic resources and benefit sharing.

Different stakeholders have different interests in medicinal species — from conservation to income generation to profitable trade. But it is in everyone's interests to conserve medicinal biodiversity, conclude the authors.

Link to full article from the International Union for Conservation of Nature