Bamboo and Rattan – Unique Vehicles for South-South and Trilateral Collaboration on Climate Change and Sustainable Development
Bamboo, a fast growing, highly renewable resource found all across the Global South in the tropics and sub-tropics, can play a major role in helping many developing countries to mitigate and adapt to climate change, while also promoting green economies. Yet, while there are at least 30 million hectares of bamboo distributed across Asia and the Pacific, Australasia, Africa, the Americas and the Caribbean (FAO FRA 2010), due to a lack of awareness, technical capacity and supportive policy and finance environments, most countries have yet to realize the full potential of their resources. This is where the experience of major exporters like China and importers like the Netherlands and Canada comes in, as an opportunity for South-South and trilateral action to avert climate change.
Bamboo is a climate-smart approach that adds value to forestry and agriculture strategies via climate change mitigation, adaptation, landscape restoration, and rural income and livelihoods. It is a sustainable replacement for higher carbon emissions materials and serves as an excellent carbon sink. Bamboo-based renewable energy shows great potential. Bamboo housing and structures help with disaster resilience, and bamboo’s 10,000 documented uses for products that create jobs (and replacement as a material for wood, plastics, and metals) contribute to sustainable livelihoods.
INBAR is primarily made up of member states from the Global South, and it has been facilitating the exchange of knowledge and technology for nearly twenty years since its founding in 1997.
More than 4000 individuals were trained in bamboo cultivation, plantation management, and bamboo charcoal producing technologies. The project introduced 10 bamboo species, raised more than 200,000 seedlings, and established 148 micro- and small enterprises.
Building codes from Colombia were adopted in Peru and Ecuador. New value chains are in place employing over 3000 people. An assessment has been completed on bamboo’s role in the 2016 Ecuador earthquake.
This project is ongoing, but so far has operationalised common production and training centres in Tanzania and Madagascar benefiting over 1500 women in Tanzania alone.
Ghana now has a dedicated bamboo and rattan development programme under the Ministry of Land and Natural Resources. Approximately 15,000 people are employed in the bamboo and rattan sector as a result. Nigeria set up a similar program under the Ministry of the Environment in 2015.
The project is expected to support the regional development of bamboo in Uganda, Ethiopia, and Kenya with technical assistance from China and the Netherlands. The first steering committee meeting was held in December 2016 in Nairobi.
Over 800 people from 74 countries have been trained and gone back to their home countries to implement projects and provide further training in the bamboo sector.
This project has developed a grading protocol for the structural use of bamboo and will give designers more confidence when building and designing modern structures. The methodology is expected to become an ISO standard in 2018.