The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations and INBAR will scale up efforts to reap benefits for rural poor, climate action and biodiversity.
18 November 2020 – The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and INBAR have signed a Memorandum of Understanding, launching a five-year partnership to promote the use of bamboo and rattan for sustainable development.
The new partnership aims to scale up work on a number of common goals, such as using bamboo and rattan to contribute to food security, income generation, biodiversity restoration, and climate change mitigation and adaptation. Speaking at the signing ceremony on 18 November, Dr. Qu Dongyu, Director General of FAO, said that the partnership will provide “more prospects to generate, exchange and share key knowledge, innovative products and technologies, as well as data and information related to bamboo and rattan.”
Fast-growing and versatile, bamboo, the fast-growing grass plant, and rattan, the spiky climbing palm, grow across the subtropics and tropics in Africa, Asia and the Americas and can be an important source of food, fuel and product for rural communities. Dr. Qu stressed that “Among [FAO members], 117 are developing countries in subtropical and tropical regions. So you can imagine… There is big potential for bamboo. Bamboo will be one of the quickest ‘cash trees’ to help these members.”
Left to right: Professor Jiang Zehui, Co-Chair of INBAR’s Board of Trustees; INBAR Director General, Mr. Ali Mchumo, signing the Memorandum; Dr. Qu Dongyu, Director General of FAO.
The partnership is particularly meaningful, according to the Co-Chair of INBAR’s Board of Trustees Professor Jiang Zehui, because “Africa and South Asia are the two regions that face the most serious problem of food security, while on the other hand they have some of the most abundant bamboo and rattan resources in the world.”
FAO and INBAR have cooperated since the 1990s, to support data collection on bamboo forests for the 2005 and 2010 FAO Forest Resources Assessments, and to improve the UN Comtrade system for classifying and monitoring international trade in bamboo and rattan products. Professor Jiang said that FAO and INBAR share a similar commitment to achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and Global Forest Goals. “FAO has made significant contributions to ensuring food security. Meanwhile, INBAR, as the only intergovernmental organisation committed to promoting the sustainable development of bamboo and rattan resources, has a mission which is largely consistent with that of FAO.”
In her closing remarks, Ms. Maria Helena Semedo, FAO’s Deputy Director General, informed delegates that a 30-person task force had already been created, and was working to put into action a work plan through 2022, which included joint proposals for resource mobilisation, coordinated implementation of projects, development of knowledge products and the exchange of data and information. “The work starts now.”
To close the signing ceremony, INBAR Director Mr. Mchumo thanked staff from both organisations for their hard work in putting together the Memorandum and work plan, and praised FAO’s “commitment to the use of bamboo and rattan for sustainable development… I hope that we leave this event today reaffirmed in our commitment to renewable, nature-based solutions for sustainable development.”
FAO is a specialised agency of the UN system, which was established in 1945 to raise levels of nutrition and living standards across its Member Nations. INBAR, established in 1997, is an intergovernmental organisation that promotes environmentally sustainable development using bamboo and rattan. It is currently made up of 47 Member States, most of them bamboo- and rattan-producing countries in the tropics and subtropics.
The INBAR team hold up the signed Memorandum.
To read the FAO’s press release on the FAO-INBAR Memorandum of Understanding, read here.
Find out more about bamboo and rattan’s importance for rural job creation, biodiversity conservation, reforestation and more here.