International Bamboo and Rattan Organization

International Bamboo and Rattan Organization

Fourth ISO meeting to discuss bamboo and rattan standards

9 Sep 2019

INBAR took part in the fourth meeting of the new International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Technical Committee on bamboo and rattan.

6 September, Manila – INBAR was present at the fourth meeting of the ISO Technical Committee on bamboo and rattan. The five-day meeting, hosted in Manila, the Philippines, covered the work of Technical Committee 296 (ISO/TC 296), on ‘Bamboo and Rattan’. Established in 2016, ISO TC/296 promotes the standardisation of bamboo, rattan, and derived materials, including terminology, classification, specifications, test methods and quality requirements: a much needed addition to international standards, which currently neglect these important non-timber forest products in their safety and classification tests.

Director of INBAR’s Central Africa Regional Office, Rene Kaam, headed the INBAR delegation at the meeting.

The opening session was attended by about 90 delegates from 12 countries including China, Colombia, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Malaysia, Nepal, the Netherlands, Nigeria, the Philippines and Uganda.

In an opening speech to delegates, Mr. Neil P. Catajay, on behalf of the Bureau of Philippine Standards, stated that the development of the bamboo sector is a priority for the government of the Philippines, and confirmed that bamboo is listed as a strategic resource in the Philippine Development Plan: a strategy for national development up to 2022. According to Mr. Catajay, the development of international standards in bamboo and rattan is not only important for removing potential barriers to trade and ensuring a higher quality of products: ISO TC 296 meetings also offer an excellent platform for bamboo and rattan experts to exchange knowledge and ideas.

Speaking on behalf of the Chairperson of ISO/TC 296, Committee Manager Dr. Changhua Fang expressed his satisfaction with the progress of the group so far. Since its establishment in 2016, the Committee has expanded from three working groups to five, and is now developing seven ISO standards. These include standards for: the terminology of bamboo products (ISO/TC 296/WG 1); bamboo flooring (ISO/TC 296/WG 2); bamboo charcoal (ISO/TC 296/WG 3); rattan (ISO/TC 296/WG 4); and engineered bamboo for general purposes (ISO/TC 296/WG 5).

INBAR is a liaison ‘A’ organisation of ISO TC 296, and has been engaged in the development of international standards for bamboo and rattan since the late 1990s. In particular, as a network mainly comprising bamboo- and rattan-producing countries, INBAR plays an important role in engaging stakeholders and facilitating consensus decision making. As a result of INBAR’s efforts, a number of INBAR Member States have joined ISO/TC 296, including China, Colombia, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kenya, Malaysia, Nepal, Nigeria, the Philippines and Uganda.

At this meeting, INBAR was represented by a delegation of six experts headed by Rene Kaam, Director of INBAR’s Central Africa Regional Office and Convenor of the fourth working group of ISO/TC 296, on rattan. The working group is currently developing two standards, to provide a clear terminology of rattan materials and products, and a comprehensive classification system for rattan. Also in attendance was Claudia Daza, Chair of INBAR’s Taskforce on Bamboo for Renewable Energy, who supports the work of the ISO/TC 296 working group on bamboo charcoal.

For Mr. Kaam, the work of ISO/TC 296 is an invaluable part of INBAR’s work as an intergovernmental development organisation. “This Committee is the key to unlock the potential of international trade in trade in bamboo and rattan products.”

For more details, please contact Mr. Rene Kaam at

Attendees at the ISO/TC 296 meeting represented 12 different countries, from both consumer and producer countries.