In 2017, Ghana changed its role from an observer to a Participating member of ISO TC 296. This change in status was effected with INBAR’s support, and promises exciting developments for bamboo and rattan standards over the next few years.
ISO TC 296 is a Technical Committee established under the International Standardization Organization (ISO). It works to standardise the terminology, specifications and quality requirements for bamboo and rattan products. INBAR has been involved in ISO TC 296 since its creation in 2015, and 11 out of 16 Participating members are also INBAR Member states.
In its new, more active role, Ghana – represented by the Ghana Standard Authority (GSA), which has successfully established an in-country mirror committee dedicated to bamboo and rattan – has high potential to contribute to the development of bamboo and rattan standards at an international level. It is the host for INBAR’s West Africa Regional Office, and contributes significantly in the promotion of sustainable development in bamboo and rattan in the region. In the past, Ghana has played key roles in projects which explore bamboo’s uses for fodder, bamboo charcoal and other products. Ghana is also set to help INBAR’s newly established Task Force on rattan uses and development.
INBAR’s support for Ghana is part of the organisation’s wider commitment to building capacity in bamboo and rattan-related international standards, which are a key way to increase consumer confidence in products and help Member states access new markets. INBAR hopes that other West African countries will follow Ghana’s example and participate in TC 296, and other parts of the international standardization process. Currently, INBAR convenes Working Group 12 (WG12, Structural Uses of Bamboo) of ISO TC 165 (Timber structures), in which INBAR is leading an international experts group to develop the standardisation of round pole bamboo structures and engineered bamboo structures. INBAR is now working with INEN (The Ecuadorian Service for Standardization) to set up its mirror committee to fully involve the development of international standards of bamboo structures.