The Kingdom of Cambodia becomes the 46th Member State of INBAR
29 November 2019 – When it was established in 1997, INBAR was a small organisation, made up of nine Member States. In the 22 years since then, its scope has grown considerably: INBAR is now a thriving network of more than 40 countries, and plays an outsized role in international policy dialogues, including as an Observer to the UN General Assembly.
Today, INBAR celebrated another important addition to its network: the accession of the Kingdom of Cambodia. In a ceremony held at INBAR Headquarters in Beijing, China, INBAR invited Ambassadors from across its Member States to take part in a flag-raising celebration.
Speaking at the ceremony, the Ambassador of Cambodia to China, H.E. Mrs. Khek M. Caimealy, expressed her country’s “delight” at becoming a Member State of INBAR, saying: “Today is an important date for the Kingdom of Cambodia.”
According to Mrs. Caimealy, although bamboo and rattan grow abundantly in Cambodia, these plants are “widely neglected and undervalued, classified by foresters as ‘minor forest products’”. Bamboo and rattan could be an important part of the government’s new National Strategic Development Plan 2019-2023, which aims to transform Cambodia to an upper-middle income country, as well as part of its national climate change strategy.
The flag-raising ceremony was hosted as part of the Eleventh Council Session of INBAR, a two-yearly meeting of all of INBAR’s Member States. Speaking on behalf of Ecuador, the Council Chair, Ecuador’s Minister of Agriculture and Livestock H.E. Xavier E. Lazo Guerrero welcomed Cambodia to the network, saying: “The INBAR family has much to offer our new Member State, the Kingdom of Cambodia – and we look forward to learning from the good work that Cambodia has been doing. The time is right for bamboo and rattan!”
Professor Jiang Zehui, the Co-Chair of INBAR’s Board of Trustees, said: “On behalf of the Board of the International Bamboo and Rattan Organisation, I would like to express my sincere welcome and heartfelt congratulations to our 46th Member State, the Kingdom of Cambodia. A warm welcome and heartfelt thanks to all guests for attending today’s flag-raising ceremony! I hope that Cambodia’s accession to INBAR… will make a positive and important contribution to the sustainable development of bamboo and rattan industry in Cambodia, Southeast Asia and the world.”
Speaking on behalf of INBAR’s Host Country, the Deputy Administrator of the National Forestry and Grassland Administration of China, Mr. Peng Youdong, reaffirmed China’s long relationship with the Kingdom of Cambodia. “Cambodia is an old friend of China and an important country along the Belt and Road”, Mr. Peng said, and described a number of ongoing bilateral forestry projects. Through INBAR, China hopes to “increase forestry cooperation with Cambodia… as a key part of collaboration in the Belt and Road Initiative.”
In recent years, INBAR has worked closely with many countries in Southeast Asia. In 2017, INBAR released a strategy for how to integrate bamboo and rattan into ASEAN’s plans for sustainable development. ASEAN, the economic bloc of which Cambodia is a member, already makes up 20% of the global trade in bamboo and rattan. INBAR is also playing a major role in developing bamboo and rattan trade in the Mekong Region, as part of the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation fund, and on a German-funded government project to develop sustainable value chains for non-timber forest products in Laos, Thailand and Vietnam.
Asian Member States have also benefited from INBAR’s extensive system of training and capacity-building workshops. In 2019 alone, INBAR has hosted training programmes for a number of countries across Asia, including Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam, in all aspects of bamboo and rattan management and use.
Find out more about INBAR Membership here.