7 October – INBAR Director General Ali Mchumo made the following remarks on 2 October 2019 on the occasion of the First Ibero-Bamboo Symposium at the Instituto Eduardo Torroja in Madrid, Spain.
Your Excellency Mrs. Carmenza Jaramillo, Member of Board Trustee of INBAR, Ambassador of Colombia to Hungary, and Your Excellency Mr. Cristobal Roldan, Ambassador of Ecuador to Spain,
Ladies and gentleman,
Welcome to the first bamboo symposium ever organised in Europe, thanks to the joint efforts of INBAR and Bambusa.
I am particularly pleased that we can come here together today to discuss how to catalyse bamboo development in Europe, so that people and governments can finally understand the potential of this timber of the future.
This symposium could have perhaps been organised sooner, but there is no doubt that the best time to do so is now.
We have just come from New York where we participated in the Climate Action Summit at the invitation of the Secretary General of the United Nations. During the summit, we sent a very clear and strong message: that bamboo is an affordable, feasible, nature based solution that needs to be considered to mitigate and to adapt to the effects of climate change.
But most of you will think – what does that mean, is it just empty words?
You are right: To be meaningful, this message needs to be translated into political actions at the national and regional levels. Together with initiatives from civil society and companies deciding to collaborate for a better tomorrow in activities like this, the symposium in which we find ourselves today can and will have a huge impact in advancing our shared goals for a better decarbonised planet and a better future for mankind.
Excellencies, the International Bamboo and Rattan Organisation (INBAR), was established in 1997 with the main objective of managing and using bamboo and rattan for sustainable development. It started as a network for research, with nine Member States under the inspiration of China, that saw the need for an international organisation to deal with this important resource for livelihood and poverty alleviation, a tool for climate mitigation and a tool for protection of the environment.
From nine founding Member States in 1997, INBAR has now become a well-known international organisation with 45 member countries and five regional offices in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean regions with our headquarters in Beijing, China.
INBAR has been very consistent in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, with very clear strategy and the sole objective of improving the world in which we live in. We have created and improved livelihoods and social development for local communities around the world.
Our work has also contributed to poverty reduction; hunger alleviation; sustainable consumption and production; and as mentioned earlier, to climate change adaptation and mitigation and protection of the environment. China remains the main support of INBAR and it is thus not by accident we have the INBAR Headquarters in Beijing. However, let me add that Spain has also been one of the few European countries providing significant support to INBAR and we are particularly grateful to the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID).
In this context, we look forward to strengthening these ties with AECID and even to expanding them further through South South and triangular cooperation, and to continuing our work towards the implementation of the SDGs in Latin America.
Excellencies and distinguished participants, you may wish to know that among the 45 Member States of INBAR，only Canada is a developed country and all the rest come from the Global South. In this context, it is unfortunate and regrettable that no European country has so far shown interest to join INBAR as a Member State, despite the fact that EU imports a high volume of bamboo products each year. This is mainly due to the low level of awareness in Europe of the importance of bamboo.
As explained above, bamboo is not only important for the products can be made for daily use. Bamboo is also a very effective tool for environmental protection and climate change mitigation, due to its great capacity to absorb carbon. Both environmental degradation and climate change are now issues of global concern, and relevant to all countries, Europe included.
Thus you do not have to be a major bamboo growing country to support or belong to INBAR, because we share the same challenges for a better planet and a better life for mankind. Let me use this Symposium to appeal to other European countries to support INBAR, even if outright joining as a Member State may take time.
This gathering of like-minded academics, civil society organisations, representatives from international organisations and government and business and private sector practitioners with an enthusiasm and trust in bamboo will go a long way to enhance awareness with regards to the relevance and importance of bamboo for sustainable development. I therefore wish this Symposium a great success while looking forward to very important deliberations to assist us towards our shared purpose: to decarbonise the planet and ensure a better life for mankind.
Thank you for your attention.
To read more about the Ibero-Bamboo Symposium, please click here.