International Bamboo and Rattan Organisation

International Bamboo and Rattan Organisation

Promoting low-carbon bamboo products at COP 26

17 Nov 2021

Forests were front and centre of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change’s (UNFCCC) 26th Conference of the Parties (COP 26) in Glasgow, Scotland.

INBAR is an Observer to the UNFCCC, and attended COP 26 in Scotland to promote bamboo’s role for carbon storage, as a source of renewable biomass energy, and as a durable, low-carbon material.

It was an auspicious environment for promoting bamboo. Dubbed ‘the Nature COP’, COP 26 included some key information related to forests and land use – and by extent, INBAR’s mission. More than 120 countries—comprising over 90% of the world’s forests—endorsed the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use, which commits to halting and reversing forest and land degradation by 2030. A number of developed countries and blocs announced their intention to collectively provide USD 12 billion financing for the protection, restoration, and sustainable management of forests between 2021 and 2025. And more than 30 countries delivered a roadmap of actions for sustainable forest, agriculture and commodity trade. This is more attention than forests have historically received at most UN climate conferences.

The gridshell structure at the INBAR booth was made by a team from Edinburgh Napier University.

Sustainable bamboo construction was a main theme of INBAR’s presence at COP 26. The buildings and construction sector accounts for a large portion of global energy use; manufacturing building materials such as steel, cement and glass alone produces 11% of worldwide carbon dioxide emissions. INBAR and partners used COP 26 to promote bamboo as a durable, high-quality and low-carbon alternative for construction.

Throughout the event, INBAR hosted a booth featuring a bamboo–timber gridshell structure. The structure, which was designed by a team from Edinburgh Napier University under the supervision of Professor Johnson Zhang, is suitable for the construction of large-span roof structures. The structure was eye-catching, and attracted many visitors. Just as popular were the bamboo bikes produced by INBAR partners, the Portuguese bicycle framing company bam.bu bicycles.

Portuguese firm bam.bu bicycles showcased their products at COP 26.

INBAR also coorganised a side event on sustainable building materials. ‘Built Environment Professionals Towards the Bio-based Design Implementation Process’ was co-organised by INBAR and the International Union of Architects (UIA), an international organization for architects which unites more than 100 countries across five regions. Speakers, including three members of INBAR’s Bamboo Construction Task Force, talked about bio-based design, and how architects and engineers can integrate carbon neutrality into the built environment design process. Dr. Alue Dohong, Vice Minister of Environment and Forestry of Indonesia, gave opening remarks emphasising the potential of bamboo for construction. The full session can be watched online.

INBAR also took part in an event to raise awareness about bamboo’s potential for biomass power generation and as a tool for land restoration. The side event ‘Development of community-based biomass power generation and land restoration with bamboo in Timor Island, Nusa Tenggara Timur, Indonesia’, which was co-hosted by Clean Power Indonesia, INBAR and CIFOR-ICRAF, explored the suitability of bamboo for off-grid power generation in Indonesia, a country which is aiming for a 23% energy mix from renewables by 2025. The event can be watched here.

INBAR also used COP 26 to expand its partnerships and raise awareness about bamboo more generally. At a side event on carbon neutrality in China, INBAR representatives spoke about community-based climate change adaptation and mitigation initiatives with bamboo. And aside from organizing or taking part in side events, INBAR also met with a number of its partners and Member State representatives, including policymakers from Indonesia and Uganda.

INBAR representatives spoke at a number of events, including this side event on bio-based construction.

In an official statement for COP 26, INBAR Director General Mr. Ali Mchumo described bamboo as “an available, scalable and natural” resource, and “a common climate solution for many developing countries in the tropics and subtropics, where it covers more than 35 million hectares of land.”

He added: “Since it was founded in 1997, the International Bamboo and Rattan Organisation, INBAR, has been working to promote bamboo’s importance for climate change mitigation and adaptation… During and after COP 26, INBAR stands ready to help its 48 Member States integrate bamboo into their Nationally Determined Contributions and carbon markets, and to scale up investments in sustainable bamboo products. In doing so, we hope to build a climate-stable, nature-based world.”

Find out more about bamboo’s importance for climate change mitigation and adaptation here.

Read INBAR’s official statement at COP 26 here.

 Watch INBAR’s 2018 explainer video on bamboo and climate change: