As we reach the end of 2018, we reflect on all that we have achieved. We are proud and excited that our growing international influence will allow us to amplify our voice and the voice of our member countries to continue to promote bamboo and rattan for sustainable, inclusive development at the highest level. Here, we share just a few of the interactions that INBAR has had with heads of state over the last year.
President Paul Biya from Cameroon visited the INBAR showroom in March 2018. This was an important step into the process of agreeing to open an office in Yaoundé, preparations for which are now firmly underway. This result would not have been possible without the strong partnership with the Embassy of Cameroon in Beijing.
Queen Maxima of the Netherlands invited INBAR to join a discussion about green investment at the Embassy of the Netherlands when she visited Beijing. This is a result of our ongoing engagement with the Government of the Netherlands.
Nobel Prize laureate and former President Juan Manuel Santos from Colombia sent a message of support for BARC in June. INBAR is undertaking a small project in Colombia to support former fighters and proide them with sustainable livelihoods, and we hope to launch a new IFAD-funded programme early next year for Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.
President Lenín Moreno from Ecuador sent a welcome message to BARC in June, as Chair of INBAR Council. Our Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean is in Quito, Ecuador and the AruaClima Project in Ecuador and Peru has been very active this year.
President Hery Rajaonarimampianina of Madagascar visited the INBAR showroom and reiterated his support for INBAR in September. In Madagascar, INBAR project staff are working on the ground to support local communities, particularly by replacing timber fuel with bamboo charcoal, a green alternative to depleting forest resources by deforestation.
INBAR had a brief meeting with President of the Republic of Congo HE Sassou Nguesso during the Forum for China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in September. This has resulted in further discussions about possible INBAR membership.
During the United Nations General Assembly in late September, INBAR met with Togo President HE Faure Gnassingbé. Dr Friederich and Gnassingbé talked about the need for an assessment of bamboo and rattan in Togo and his desire to train local people in manufacturing higher quality bamboo and rattan products.
In addition to these meetings with heads of state, INBAR has made great strides in raising the profile of bamboo and rattan with high-level UN agencies, government ministries, and the private sector during meetings, visits and international events throughout the year. Read more here, here and here.