The second day of the Global Bamboo and Rattan Congress focused on these plants’ unique contribution to climate change.
Tuesday 26 June 2018, Beijing, China – the second day of the Global Bamboo and Rattan Congress 2018, BARC, was full of events, but shared two central themes: a focus on climate change, and on bamboo and rattan’s uses in Africa.
The morning session, on ‘Bamboo and Rattan for Climate Change and Green Growth’, was chaired by Martin Frick, Senior Director for Policy and Programme Coordination at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Mr. Frick opened with a video message from Patricia Espinosa, the Executive Secretary of UNFCCC, who reiterated the importance of bamboo, as well as cooperation between countries and sectors, for combatting climate change. Following the video message, Ugandan MP Jovrine Kaliisa Kyomukama spoke about the relationship between bamboo and climate change mitigation in an African context. As a Member of Uganda’s Parliamentary Forum on Climate Change, Ms. Kaliisa described the the Forum’s vision as “helping to create a prosperous and climate change-resilient Uganda…. I firmly believe that bamboo can play a role in this Vision.” Ms. Kalissa also shared Uganda’s history of working with INBAR as part of the Dutch-Sino-East Africa project. “So far, the Dutch-Sino-East Africa project has helped Uganda to find out how many bamboo resources we have, where they grow, and to identify the key bamboo product value chains which would benefit from increased support.” Ms. Kalissa expressed her delight at the Government of the Netherlands’ intention, expressed yesterday, to extend the project for another term. “With further work, more Ugandans can benefit from bamboo as an important source of income, particularly those communities whose livelihoods are impacted by a changing climate.”
Pablo van der Lugt, an expert and previous TED speaker on bamboo’s carbon storage potential, gave a compelling presentation about bamboo’s potential to contribute to climate change mitigation.
Following the presentations, Mr. Frick moderated a panel discussion featuring a number of speakers: Patricia Appeagyei, Vice-Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Ghana; Dr. Gerhard Dieterle, Executive Director from the International Tropical Timber Organisation (ITTO); Co-lead of the World Bank Forest and Landscape Climate Finance Team; Dr. Pradeep Monga, Deputy Executive Secretary from the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification; Mr. Wang Chunfeng, Deputy Director-General from the National Forestry and Grassland Administration; Dr. Saibal Dasgupta, Additional Director General of Forests, Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Climate Change, India; and Dr. Meng Han, UNEP WCMC China Representative.
Dieterle mentioned the role of timber organisations in bamboo’s work – highlighting the overlap between ITTO and INBAR, which share many Members, and stating how bamboo and rattan “belong to the overall management of tropical forests and land resources in a holistic way.” He urged the climate policy world to consider more seriously the importance of substituting traditional fossil fuels with replenishable sources of wood energy: a message which Frick promised to relay to the UNFCCC. Dr. Monga, meanwhile, discussed land degradation and its relationship to climate change and bamboo. He expressed the hope that these three things could be brought together, as part of the new Land Degradation Neutrality Fund. And Mr. Wang discussed the recent launch of China’s nationwide Emissions Trading Scheme, expressing the hope that bamboo could be part of related offset projects.
Dr. Dasgupta was positive about India’s contribution to issues of land restoration and climate change mitigation. Despite enormous population and farming pressure, “we’ve been able to keep forest and tree cover of about 25%”, or around 18 million hectares. Under the current government in India, bamboo grown outside forests is no longer considered as a tree – making it easier to use and cultivate without restrictions.
Following the plenary session, participants could choose from some 40 sessions to attend. African bamboo and rattan development was a key theme of the day, with sessions focusing on trilateral cooperation in East Africa, the many bamboo uses in West Africa, and the possibilities for Central Africa – a particularly relevant topic, given INBAR and Cameroon’s recent commitment to launch a new Regional Office for Central Africa in Yaoundé.
The afternoon also included a session on the Global Assessment of Bamboo and Rattan, GABAR, featuring presentations from an ongoing GABAR training course involving foresters and bamboo experts from a number of Member states. The course is part of an attempt to build internationally recognised methodologies for assessing bamboo stocks and bamboo carbon sequestration potential – an important contribution towards measuring bamboo global forest coverage, which will feed into the Food and Agriculture Organization’s upcoming Forest Resource Assessment 2020.
As with day one, the second day of the Global Bamboo and Rattan Congress can be best summarised in one of our speaker’s quotes, this time from UNFCCC Executive Director Patricia Espinosa:
…In short, bamboo and rattan represent an important part of reducing net emissions. And this is exactly what the world needs right now.
Featured image: participants gather around a bamboo wind turbine blade in the registration area of the Congress.
Coverage of the Congress is being provided by the International Institute for Sustainable Development. The English language newsletter for day 2 can be read here, or online at the website: http://enb.iisd.org/barc/2018/