Copy of the speech given by Hans Friederich, Director General of INBAR, at the closing ceremony of the Global Bamboo and Rattan Congress 2018
Ladies and gentlemen, dear esteemed colleagues,
Thank you for joining us on this, the last day of the first Global Bamboo and Rattan Congress.
In my opening speech to you all on Monday, I said that I did not want this Congress to be ‘just a talking shop’ – and I am delighted to report that this has absolutely not been the case.
We have seen political commitments made, towards policies and projects that encourage the use of bamboo and rattan to support sustainable development objectives. On Monday, in our Ministerial summit, we announced a new project, funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development, which will take place in a number of countries across Africa. At the same Summit, we were encouraged to hear the government of the Netherlands commit its support to a new phase of the Dutch-Sino-East Africa project – a trilateral project which is currently working across Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda to find out more about these countries’ bamboo resources and learn how to access the international market.
On a higher political level, we are very pleased to announce that the Beijing Declaration has, in principle, been agreed by all Members of INBAR. The Beijing Declaration is INBAR’s roadmap from BARC: the next steps we need to take to put all this talk into action, and really start to make bamboo and rattan part of national and international sustainable development. We have received some final comments from you on the text of the Declaration, and we will look over your comments carefully in the future weeks and circulate the final product.
As well as policy, we have also seen the start of smaller projects in the area of biodiversity protection. We are also very happy to commit to work with the Gabarone Declaration for Sustainable Development on a valuation of the eco-tourism potential of Uganda’s bamboo forests, which are a habitat for mountain gorillas. And together with China’s National Forests and Grassland Administration, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation ‘UNESCO’ and five of the largest international conservation organisations, we have agreed to organise a planning workshop for the new Giant Panda National Park, based in China, in early 2019.
We have also seen important steps forward in our mission to learn more about bamboo and rattan. I would particularly like to draw people’s attention to the Global Assessment for Bamboo and Rattan for green development, a flagship initiative of INBAR’s. The Global Assessment, or GABAR, is our attempt to find out more about the world’s bamboo and rattan resources, in order to help everyone here – policy makers, development practitioners, the private sector – make better use of these extraordinary plants. We have been running a GABAR workshop alongside this Congress, which pools the combined wisdom of INBAR and forestry experts from a number of Member states. As a result, we have helped to develop new methodologies for assessing bamboo stocks and measuring their carbon sequestration potential. All of this will help foresters around the world to find out more about their domestic bamboo resources, and how to use them for sustainable development. They will also contribute to the Food and Agriculture Organization’s Forest Resource Assessment 2020. We are literally putting bamboo on the map.
One other joint FAO-INBAR initiative is the development of a global USD 50 million bamboo for climate change project, which we hope to submit to the Global Environment Facility.
Training and capacity-building is an important part of INBAR’s work. At our session on capacity building and training, co-organised with UNESCO, we have seen an important commitment made to the establishment of more training centres, to help more people learn to benefit from bamboo and rattan. I hope that within the next few months we can start to make good on this promise, with the launch of an important new China-Africa training centre in Ethiopia.
Ladies and gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure that as a result of this Congress, INBAR has strengthened its network, and we welcome our newest Member, the Central African Republic. The Central African Republic is our 44th Member state, and the 19th Member state from Africa. We have also committed to launch a new Regional Office for Central Africa, in Yaoundé, Cameroon, to better coordinate our work in this bamboo- and rattan-rich region.
In different sessions, we have signed agreements to work more closely together with the International Tropical Timber Organisation (ITTO) the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) and the Central African Forestry Commission (COMIFAC).
Finally, I believe this Congress has helped to break down barriers for bamboo and rattan development. We have heard from experts on climate change and biodiversity; from policy makers; from business leaders; from home-grown entrepreneurs; from researchers, about the possibilities of bamboo and rattan. Bamboo and rattan is no longer ‘poor man’s timber’ – it is truly ‘green gold’, and its applications for sustainable development and environmental protection go hand-in-hand with its industrial applications and use by the private sector. It is my fervent hope that, over the next few years, we can continue these discussions and work across different sectors to promote these plants’ development.
Ladies and gentlemen,
We have enjoyed three days of stimulating discussion, speeches and statements, so I will keep this brief. Last year, INBAR celebrated its 20th anniversary, and we held a celebration to look back over the past two decades of our work. Then, we were celebrating our past; at this Congress, we have looked towards the future. I hope you believe, as I do, that we have made some real steps forward for the development of bamboo and rattan. Over the next few weeks and months, we will be processing all of these new developments and will be letting you know more about what happens. So I would ask you all to stay tuned, and encourage you to remain part of the conversation about bamboo and rattan!