The International Bamboo and Rattan Organisation, the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation, and China’s State Forestry Administration were among several co-organisers of this important side event at UN Convention to Combat Desertification COP13
Pictured: “I am convinced about bamboo, but we still have a way to go to convince many others” – Paola Agostini, World Bank
13 September 2017; Ordos, China – INBAR held a side event featuring a series of practical discussions about the role of bamboo for land restoration in the Global South. The event was organised with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, and China’s State Forestry Administration.
Because of its extensive roots system, year-round canopy and high rate of carbon sequestration, bamboo is becoming increasingly well-known as a tool for reversing land restoration. Across the world, governments such as Rwanda, Sri Lanka, Brazil, China, Kenya, and the Philippines are including bamboo in their plans for land restoration. Recently, an important World Bank-funded project on sustainable land management, led by INBAR, went underway in Ethiopia. And in 2016, the Chinese government approved a methodology for carbon afforestation and reforestation which includes bamboo.
As a network of 42 Member states, covering many millions of hectares of bamboo across the Global South, INBAR is well placed to coordinate work on land restoration using bamboo. INBAR organised this event to showcase successful case studies of bamboo in landscape restoration, and the benefits it brings for ecosystem resilience and livelihood outcomes.
At the beginning of the event, Mr. Thomas Hammond, Senior Land Officer, Land, and Water Division, Climate, Biodiversity, Land and Water Department, FAO, shared the initial findings from a recent joint FAO-INBAR mission in Cameroon seeking to identify possible areas of collaboration on bamboo for land restoration, food security, and poverty alleviation. He also discussed a synthesis report on bamboo for landscape restoration, which INBAR and FAO are currently collaborating on together.
“We are including bamboo in our sustainable land management programme as a critical component, especially for the protection of riverbanks”- Patricia Appiagyei, Ghana Deputy Minister
Senior officials from Asia, Africa, and Latin America shared valuable experiences from their efforts to use bamboo for landscape restoration, erosion control, and rehabilitation of mines. Ms Maria Victoria Chiriboga, Undersecretary of Climate Change for Ecuador’s Ministry of the Environment, stressed that in the push to build a bio-economy in Ecuador, “bamboo is an important component.” Teshome Tamirat, Director General for Forest Resource Inventory and Management Plan, made clear that “Bamboo is a strategic resource in the restoration of degraded lands in Ethiopia”, describing how it supports the rural economy, offers raw materials for over 400,000 households on the coast and supports livelihoods. Likewise, for Ghana, bamboo is a “critical component” of sustainable land management, especially for the protection of river banks, according to Patricia Appiagyei, Deputy Minister for Ghana’s Ministry for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation. And the Deputy Director General of the State Forestry Administration’s Department for International Cooperation, Mr. Wang Chunfeng, provided his insights into China’s ongoing Green for Grain programme, which has prominently included bamboo as a priority area in some middle and western provinces of China.
Finally, INBAR Director General Dr Hans Friederich reflected on INBAR Member states’ pledge in 2014 to restore 5 million hectares of degraded lands using bamboo, as part of Bonn Challenge. He also invited all attendees to INBAR’s Global Bamboo and Rattan Congress in 2018, to continue the discussion.
Following these speeches, INBAR hosted a panel discussion on the challenges and opportunities for upscaling bamboo for landscape restoration. Senior representatives from UN agencies, intergovernmental organisations, and INBAR member states provided their inputs.
According to FAO Representative Hammond, bamboo is an important part of climate change mitigation, particularly if the carbon is ‘locked into’ furniture and flooring. He added that FAO is particularly excited about the possibilities of bamboo for South-South cooperation based on the wide geographical profile of the speakers at the side event.
Mr. Mamadou Diakhite, the Team Leader of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development Sustainable Land and Water Management programme, voiced his support to work with INBAR to encourage people, organisations and companies to invest in Africa. Vietnam Director of Science, Technology, and International Cooperation for Forestry Dr. Nguyen Phu Hung indicated Vietnam’s desire to work more with INBAR on technical advice to increase the role of bamboo for landscape restoration. Finally, Ms. Paola Agostini, Global Lead for Forests, Landscapes and Ecosystems at the World Bank, expressed her strong support for bamboo, and resolved for the World Bank to work more closely with INBAR on bamboo for landscape restoration, citing its fast growing nature as a particularly important advantage.
The event raised several important lessons for INBAR and its Members to take forward. The first was the need to raise more awareness about bamboo’s role to restore soils. As Ms Agostini said: “I am convinced about bamboo, but we still have a way to go to convince many others.” As well as this, capacity among INBAR members needs to be strengthened to increase work on the ground, as do funding mechanisms for bamboo land restoration work. Finally, participants stressed the need to reach out to new partners, especially the private sector.
International Bamboo and Rattan Organisation (INBAR)
INBAR is a multilateral development organisation of 42 Member States for the promotion of bamboo and rattan. INBAR plays a unique role in supporting its members to find and demonstrate innovative ways of using bamboo and rattan to protect environments and biodiversity, and alleviate poverty. INBAR connects a global network of partners from the government, private, and not-for-profit sectors to define and implement a global agenda for sustainable development with bamboo and rattan.
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