International Bamboo and Rattan Organization

International Bamboo and Rattan Organization

France highlights biodiversity conservation at the Beijing Expo

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France highlights biodiversity conservation at the Beijing Expo

The Embassy of the France hosted an event to promote biodiversity at the INBAR Pavilion in the Beijing Expo 2019.

21 June 2019 – The Embassy of France to Beijing co-hosted an event at the INBAR Garden at the International Horticultural Exhibition (Beijing Expo 2019). The event focused on the importance of protecting biodiversity and formed part of France’s National Day at the Beijing Expo.

At the event, representatives from INBAR, the French Embassy, luxury goods industries, the agricultural sector, and universities spoke about the importance of biodiversity to the Beijing Expo’s theme of ‘Live Green, Live Better’. INBAR’s Director General, Mr. Ali Mchumo, called attention to the importance of bamboo and rattan in conserving biodiversity. Not only are bamboo and rattan a diverse group of plants, made up of more than 1600 and 600 species respectively; they also provide a crucial source of habitat and food for some of the most iconic and endangered species in the world, including the mountain gorilla, giant panda, and the bamboo lemurs of Madagascar.

Mr. Mchumo went on to note that: “Bamboo and rattan are not just important for other species… Humans have relied on these plants for thousands of years, as a source of energy, food and income. Bamboo and rattan can form a renewable, low-carbon alternative to a large number of products, and can help avoid deforestation and biodiversity loss, while also supporting incomes for the rural poor.”

In light of the UNESCO report, published this May, on the alarming state of global biodiversity loss, this event is part of a wider global conversation. During his speech, Mr. Mchumo called on France and other European countries to join INBAR in raising the profile of bamboo and rattan as a means to protect biodiversity. Though bamboo and rattan do not grow in Europe, there is a growing demand for their products. According to INBAR data, in 2017, the European Union imported bamboo and rattan products worth more than USD 400 million. By replacing less sustainable materials, such as plastic, with bamboo and rattan, and by increasing the demand for these products, European countries can play an important role as consumers in helping to preserve biodiversity.

The event provided an important opportunity for attendees to network and learn more about biodiversity and is one of a number of events arranged with INBAR and European stakeholders. Last week, the Embassy of the Netherlands to Beijing hosted an event on sustainable horticultural value chains; and in October, INBAR will host a Bamboo Symposium in Spain, which aims to raise awareness of bamboo’s potential to a wide variety of key stakeholders together from European governments, civil society and the private sector.

Keep up to date with the latest events at the INBAR Garden at the Beijing Expo 2019 here.

For more information about the European Bamboo Symposium, read here.

Article written by Eilif Ronning