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INBAR turns 20!

News
6Nov

INBAR’s 20th anniversary celebrations included a Ministerial forum, a flag raising ceremony for new Member Brazil, and a congratulatory message from President Xi Jinping.

6 November 2017 – It’s been a long journey. Established as an intergovernmental organisation in November 1997 with nine Member states, in 2017 INBAR now boasts 43 Members, four regional offices and a global range of partners and donors. We have impacted policies and lives around the world. Most recently, we have moved from research to development: making a tangible impact with meaningful project work.

To celebrate our growth and achievements, in November INBAR hosted a day of celebrations in Beijing. Ambassadors and Ministers from INBAR’s Member states attended the event, along with representatives from the Host Country government and high-profile international organisations.

High-level dialogue on the Global Assessment for Bamboo and Rattan

The day began with a high-level dialogue about INBAR’s flagship initiative, the Global Assessment of Bamboo and Rattan (GABAR). Speaking to attendees, GABAR Coordinator Mr. Trinh Thanh Long emphasised the need to provide “reliable, fundamental information” to policy makers, international agencies and donors, as “a necessary first step to realising bamboo and rattan’s full potential for sustainable development and environmental protection.” In the subsequent panel discussion, a number of panelists from a wide range of organisations – including the Global Green Growth Institution and the World Food Programme – discussed GABAR within an international context.

Flag raising for INBAR’s new member: Brazil

Brazilian Senator Jorge Viana: “For Brazil, the time is right for bamboo and rattan”

Following the dialogue, attendees took part in the formal flag raising ceremony for INBAR’s newest Member: Brazil. Home to diverse wildlife and extensive natural forests, including over one million hectares of bamboo forest and 232 species of bamboo, Brazil is an important addition to INBAR’s growing network. Professor Jiang Zehui, Co-Chair of INBAR’s Board of Trustees summarized the history of Brazil’s accession to INBAR, and spoke of her personal feelings for the country: “I have sincere respect for and good memories of Brazil. As early as April 2005, my first visit to Brazil… I was deeply impressed by Brazil’s spectacular tropical forest and unique bamboo resources.” She added: “I would like to express my warmest congratulations to Brazil for joining INBAR.” Her sentiments were shared by H.E. Mr. Antonia Hugh, Ambassador of the Embassy of Jamaica in Beijing; H.E. Mr. Peng Youdong, Vice Minister for the State Forestry Administration of China; H.E. Mr. Jorge Viana, Senator of Brazil; and Mr. Ma Xinmin, Deputy Director General for the Department of Treaty and Law, at China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In the afternoon, INBAR showed videos from the following high-ranking representatives. In particular, INBAR was delighted to receive a congratulatory letter from the President of China, Xi Jinping. Xi praised the positive role that INBAR has played in the past 20 years in accelerating the development of global bamboo and rattan resources. Xi also emphasised the role that bamboo could play in China’s aim for a ‘harmonious coexistence of humans and nature’, in line with the sentiments expressed in the recent 19th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party.

The Presidents of China and Ethiopia both sent congratulatory messages to INBAR on its twentieth anniversary. Pictured: Ethiopian President Mulatu Teshome gives a video speech

As well as Xi Jinping, INBAR received video speeches from H. E. Dr. Mulatu Teshome, President of Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia; and H. E. Mr. Liu Zhenmin, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, United Nations. A representative read out a speech on behalf of Dr. José Graziano da Silva, Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Several high-level representatives also gave speeches congratulating INBAR: H.E. Mr. Antonia Hugh, Ambassador of the Embassy of Jamaica in Beijing and a representative of the INBAR Council Chair; Mr. Jia Zhibang, Chair of the Population, Resources and Environment Committee of CPPCC; Mr. Li Baodong, Executive Vice Minister, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, China; Dr. Andrew Bennett, Chair of the INBAR Board of Trustees; and Mr. Zhang Jianlong, Minister of China’s State Forestry Administration. All speakers congratulated INBAR on the organization’s growth over the years.

The speeches were followed by the launch of several publications: Inspiring Sustainable Development with Bamboo, a new report co-produced with the UN Office for South-South Cooperation, whose Director Mr. Jorge Chediek provided a video message; The World Checklist of Bamboos and Rattans, which provides important information about the spread and number of bamboo and rattan species; and 100 Heroes of China’s Bamboo Industry, which follows the stories of some of China’s eight million people employed in the bamboo sector.

Ministerial Forum on bamboo and rattan for green development

Following the publication launch, INBAR Director General Dr. Hans Friederich chaired a Ministerial Forum. The Forum opened with statements from representatives of INBAR’s regions: H.E. Mr. Benito Owusu Bio spoke on behalf of INBAR’s 18 African Members; Stephen Wedderburn, Executive Director of the Bureau of Standards Jamaica provided a summary of INBAR’s Latin American and the Caribbean region; and Mr. Satya Narayan Pradhan, Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Development of India’s North Eastern Region, introduced INBAR’s Asian states.

Following the speeches, several panelists from Ministries in Ghana, Brazil, Uganda and the Philippines discussed bamboo and rattan’s uses in their respective countries, as well as the challenges and opportunities facing their future. At the end of the discussion, H.E. Mr. Owusu Bio introduced a Statement. This ‘Statement on Bamboo and Rattan for Green Sustainable Development and South-South Cooperation’, Mr. Owusu Bio said, serves as the prelude to the Beijing Declaration, which will be used during the first-ever Global Bamboo and Rattan Congress in June 2018:

“In short, the Statement lays out a bold vision of bamboo and rattan for green sustainable development and South-South cooperation. The Statement makes several recommendations, which commit INBAR Member states to making full use of their bamboo and rattan resources in national policies and international initiatives. By supporting this Statement, Member state representatives commit themselves to action. We strongly hope this Statement will inspire national governments and all relevant organizations to mobilize and share resources, so we can fully realise the potential of bamboo and rattan for green development.”

The Statement will be available online in full soon.

Finally, attendees were invited to a hospitality dinner and concert featuring a bamboo band – the best way to toast INBAR’s successes so far, and the years to come. Happy 20th anniversary INBAR!