In early November, the Union for Ethical BioTrade (UEBT) travelled to the Vohimana Experimental Nature Reserve in Madagascar to further explore the use of biocultural community protocols as a means to enhance the relationship of UEBT members with indigenous and local communities from whom they source natural ingredients.
Community protocols generally emerge from internal reflection processes that encourage communities to consider their own development objectives and biocultural values. In the Ethical BioTrade context, such reflection is valuable in clarifying the social, cultural and environmental context of the partnership between communities and UEBT members. In addition, these processes can reinforce the dialogue between communities and UEBT members, ensuring collaboration occurs within shared values, as well within the principles of Ethical BioTrade.
Part of a joint project between UEBT and Natural Justice, supported by GIZ, the activities in Madagascar involved the work of Aroma Forest, a UEBT trading member since 2010. Aroma Forest produces essential oils that are used in aromatherapy, cosmetics and perfume and are recognized for their exceptional quality. With the support of the local NGO L’Homme et L’Environnement, an affiliate member of UEBT since 2009, Aroma Forest prioritizes work with local communities, strengthening capacity, promoting sustainable use of biodiversity and contributing to local sustainable development.
This project focused on the relationship between Aroma Forest, L’Homme et L’Environment and one of the collaborating associations, APPUI PAM Manara-penitra, which includes collectors, harvesters and distillers working in and around Vohimana. Discussions between the actors were dynamic and during the meetings the association presented its expectations in terms of the social, environmental, productive, and commercial aspects of the supply chain, as well as its own engagements towards improving all these aspects. For example, the association expressed the need for support from its partners in more clearly defining the collection areas (such as through the use of GPS) and its commitment to improve internal coordination among members.
The dialogue among Aroma Forest, L’Homme et L’Environment and the APPUI PAM Manara-penitra association will continue, in order to further define expectations and commitments, and Aroma Forest will take into account points identified during the workshop in Vohimana for its work under the Ethical BioTrade verification system.
Finally, UEBT and its partners will continue to explore how the approach and methodologies of biocultural community protocols can be further developed and systematized in the Ethical BioTrade context.
For more information on a case study on biocultural community protocols in the Peruvian Amazon, please click here