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Bamboo cultural heritage: UNESCO at BARC

INBAR News
11May

INBAR is pleased to welcome UNESCO to speak in a number of sessions at BARC 2018, on everything from bamboo heritage to pandas, and the tricky relationship between sustainability and development.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, UNESCO, has a mission as ambitious as it is broad: to contribute to the building of peace, poverty eradication, sustainable development and intercultural dialogue, through education, the sciences, culture, communication and information. Its work intersects with INBAR’s focus on areas such as intangible cultural bamboo heritage and poverty alleviation.

On 25-27 June, China’s State Forestry and Grassland Administration and INBAR will be welcoming several key representatives from UNESCO to the Global Bamboo and Rattan Congress (BARC 2018). With its focus on protecting and conserving cultural heritage, UNESCO can offer some important insights into the ‘intangible cultural heritage’ of many Chinese bamboo practices. Since antiquity, bamboo has been an integral part of China’s natural landscape and an important part of Chinese culture and creativity. Bamboo’s natural and cultural versatility can offer new solutions to a well-established conflict between conservation and development. UNESCO will be coorganising a session on at BARC 2018, ‘Linking bamboo and World Heritage through creativity’, which brings together stakeholders from ministries, universities, World Heritage sites and other sectors to discuss how creativity can help promote World Heritage conservation and sustainable development of local livelihoods.

Capacity building is also an important part of protecting cultural heritage and fragile ecosystems. UNESCO is coorganising a session on ‘South-South Cooperation at a local level: training and capacity-building’, to discuss how countries can access the knowledge, technology and finances they need to build their bamboo and rattan sectors, and in turn contribute to several sustainable development and heritage protection imperatives.

UNESCO, like INBAR, will also be present at the International Horticultural Exposition in 2019 – a huge six-month event, covering some 500 hectares outside Beijing. The Exposition aims to showcase “a new model of ecological conservation.” INBAR has been given space to build a large garden and pavilions for its 43 Member states; UNESCO is similarly finalising arrangements with the Exposition organising committee to build a pavilion garden that will feature bamboo and other plants. At BARC 2018, UNESCO and other representatives will discuss their vision for the Exposition, and why it matters, in a session called ‘Preparing for the Beijing Horticultural Exposition 2019’.

Finally, UNESCO will moderate an event on ‘Protecting the Giant Panda’. Participants from organisations including Conservation International, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and World Wildlife Foundation will speak about the delicate balance between sustainability and development, the cultural resonance of the Giant Panda, and will launch an exciting new development relating to panda protection in China.

INBAR looks forward to welcoming participants to these and other diverse sessions at BARC 2018: the first international conference of its kind to discuss green tools for sustainable development.

To find out more about our sessions, and to register for BARC, click here.