Rattans are spiky climbing palms which grow in forests across Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. These plants can be used to create important non-timber forest products, such as handicrafts and furniture, on which millions of people, especially those in rural communities, depend for their livelihood. They are being recognised as resources that will help many rural communities adapt effectively to the impacts of climate change and poverty alleviation.
In recognition of rattans’ potential, INBAR established a Rattan Task Force in 2017. The Rattan Task Force focuses on conducting research and awareness-raising work which promotes the plant’s sustainable use, trade, and product and standards development. The Rattan Task Force is made up of experts from different countries around the world.
The Rattan Task Force’s most important mission is to develop INBAR Voluntary Guideline Standards (VGS) on rattan use and development. A typical VGS is a multi-stakeholder and consensus-based document intended to guide various stakeholders engaged in bamboo and rattan production and processing. It is also based on the most recent and advanced methods and technologies of production, processing and commercialisation of bamboo and rattan products. The VGS may assist local authorities in developing their own standards for rattan management and use. At the international level, VGS may serve as reference documents to develop global standards. As such, developing a series of VGS documents on rattan utilisation can be an important first step to standardisation, which could promote international trade in rattan products.
Outputs of the Rattan Task Force
In 2018, the Rattan Task Force successfully produced a book on Rattan Terminologies (INBAR Technical Report No. 39). The book introduces the reader to basic terminologies used in rattan industries across the globe. Starting with a definition of basic terms, the book provides concise definitions of the technical terms used in the harvesting, as well as primary, secondary and tertiary processing, of rattans. The book is a major TFR reference document for the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Technical Committee on Rattan, ISO/TC 296, which is in the process of developing standard ‘Terminologies for Rattan and Rattan Products’. The Task Force is also currently working on VGS for the establishment of rattan plantations and grading of rattan products.
In 2021, the International Organization on Standardization (ISO) published a new standard, ‘Vocabulary related to rattan materials and products’ (ISO 23066:2021). The standard defines terms relating to rattan source plants, materials, intermediate rattan products and rattan products, and was produced with support from members of the Task Force.
Task Force Members
The Task Force is made of a Coordinator, a Chairman of ISO/TC 296’s relevant Working Group, and 22 rattan experts from 14 INBAR Member States.