INBAR Member States across the world celebrated World Bamboo Day 2020.
18 September – Since it was first announced in 2009, World Bamboo Day has become an important event to raise awareness about this fast-growing grass plant. 2020 was no exception, and people in INBAR Member States across the world took part in events, workshops, webinars and video messages to mark the occasion.
INBAR’s Latin America and the Caribbean Office put together a compilation of video messages from across the Americas. In total, 64 people from 18 countries took part in the video to explain how they ‘think bamboo’. The Office also organised an online webinar on ‘Bamboo in the Americas’, and arranged a bamboo planting event in Peru, one of the beneficiary countries of INBAR’s ongoing project work in Latin America.
Kenya has its own reasons to celebrate World Bamboo Day 2020: a few days previously, the country’s cabinet office officially classed bamboo as a priority crop, as part of its Greening Campaign to increase tree cover and generate more employment through agroforestry. On 18 September, Environment Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko attended a bamboo planting event co-organised by INBAR and the Bamboo Association of Kenya, and spoke to reporters about the importance of bamboo. Kenya is one of the target countries of the ongoing Dutch-Sino-East Africa project, which is being conducted by INBAR.
In Madagascar, the Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development gave an online speech about the importance of the bamboo sector, and invited people to an official celebration in early October. Bamboo news was reported on national TV and by a number of news sources. Also on the same day, INBAR project staff organised a bamboo workshop visit for young apprentices, as well as a webinar about bamboo processing and plantations co-organised with the PROSPERER programme. PROSPERER is INBAR’s main partner in the ongoing Inter-Africa Bamboo Development Programme.
Ghana is also a beneficiary country of the Inter-Africa Programme, and on 18 September, INBAR’s West Africa Regional Office presented a community with 500 bamboo plantlets and 1000 seedlings, to plant along nearby rivers and establish a bamboo nursery. Project staff also conducted a training course on bamboo fodder.
In India, INBAR was partner in an event co-organised by the World Bamboo Organisation and Bamboo Society of India, on ‘Bamboo in our Culture’. The event included a virtual exhibition, a conference featuring experts who talked about bamboo’s importance and heritage in India, a painting and photography competition, and a performance by a bamboo band. During the event, the Director of INBAR’s South Asia Regional Office, T.P. Subramony, discussed INBAR’s work and achievements in India since 1997.
Aside from INBAR-supported celebrations, a number of events took place around the world. The UK newspaper The Independent published a widely shared feature about low-carbon bamboo products, as a “naturally antibacterial, flexible and extremely strong” alternative to plastics. Jamaica’s Bureau of Standards hosted an online webinar about bamboo. And the Philippines’ Climate Change Commission called for the country to harness bamboo as an important carbon sink. A number of celebrations also took place across different states in India. In Assam, India, a new bamboo nursery was opened; in the Northeastern Region, Minister Jitendra Singh once again reiterated his support for bamboo, saying that the bamboo industry “will have an important role in the country’s economy” after COVID-19; and in Tripura, Chief Minister Biplab Deb made a speech in support of ‘bamboo cookies’, a local delicacy which, Deb said, “has the capacity to empower rural people.”
Perhaps the most surprising celebrations came from Iran, where a number of national papers discussed Lahijan, the “bamboo capital” of the country. Speaking to the Islamic Republic News Agency, a member of the International Society of Bamboo Researchers reported that “Bamboo cultivation has a 100-year history in Iran”, and suggested that with more support, Lahijan could play a bigger role in the global market for handicrafts and bamboo products.
To find out more about how bamboo can contribute to sustainable development priorities, read here.
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