The Republic of Fiji joined INBAR in September 2020. This week, INBAR celebrated the accession of its 47th Member State.
On 27 October, diplomats and policymakers came together to celebrate the Republic of Fiji’s accession to INBAR, at a flag-raising ceremony outside the Organisation’s Headquarters in Beijing. The event was well attended, with representatives from INBAR Member States and other Pacific countries, as well as from INBAR’s host country, China.
Bamboo is a key part of life and culture for Fiji and many other Pacific island states, and has been used for centuries for a wide range of purposes, including construction, rafts and fishing traps. According to H.E. Mr. Manasa R. Tagicakibau, the Ambassador of Fiji to China, who spoke at the ceremony, bamboo can help contribute to his country’s work combatting deforestation, climate change and unemployment. As Mr. Tagicakibau marked, this is not the first time INBAR and Fiji have worked together: in the past few years, Fiji’s Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, and Minister for Forestry, have both visited INBAR Headquarters; INBAR also coorganised an event with Fiji about ‘Bamboo for climate change action in Small Island Developing States’ at the UN climate conference in 2017, for which Fiji held the Presidency.
Speaking on behalf of the Chair of the INBAR Council, which is made up of all INBAR Member States, the Ambassador of Cameroon to China, H.E. Mr. Martin Mpana, welcomed Fiji, and shared his hope that bamboo and rattan could be an important part of “green recovery in the pandemic-afflicted world.” Professor Jiang Zehui, the co-Chair of INBAR’s Board of Trustees, shared this wish, and expressed her belief that Fiji’s membership of INBAR “will surely usher in a new era of rapid development… to the sustainable development of the bamboo and rattan industry in Oceania and the world.”
Two representatives from INBAR’s host country, China, also spoke at the event. In his speech, Mr. Li Chunliang, Deputy Administrator of the National Forestry and Grassland Administration, reminded attendees that Fiji was the first Pacific island country to establish diplomatic relations with China, and the two countries have collaborated extensively on forestry management projects in the decades since. Mr. Li expressed his belief that Fiji’s accession to INBAR “will not only facilitate bamboo sector development in Fiji, but will also provide new opportunities and impetus for forestry cooperation between China and Fiji in the following years.” Mr. Xiao Nan, from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Department of International Economic Affairs, reiterated China’s willingness to work with INBAR and its Member States to promote the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.
Following the speeches, H.E. Mr. Tagicakibau and INBAR Director General Mr. Ali Mchumo raised the national flag of Fiji outside INBAR Headquarters.
INBAR now has 47 Member States overall, almost all of them developing countries in the tropics and subtropics. INBAR has a very active presence in the Asia-Pacific region, where it has 15 Member States. Prior to the flag-raising ceremony, representatives from a number of Pacific island country Embassies and Commissions, including non-Member States Micronesia, Papua New Guinea and Samoa, and the Trade Commissioner for the Pacific Islands Trade and Investment Commission, were taken on a tour of the Bamboo and Rattan Products Showroom.
Find out more about Fiji’s bamboo resources and membership of INBAR here.
To learn about INBAR’s work across its Member States, read our news here.