At INBAR, every day is ‘bamboo day’.
Today (18 September) marks World Bamboo Day, and provides us with a chance to reflect on bamboo’s importance.
As well as being an integral, ancient part of cultures around the world, bamboo is also a very strategic tool for rural development. This has been INBAR’s focus since our establishment in 1997. For twenty years, we have promoted this amazing plant for a wide range of uses, including:
- Rural development. We have created environmentally sustainable, important income streams for many rural communities across the world. Recently, this includes creating a source of post-disaster livelihoods to communities in Sichuan following the 2008 earthquake. More generally, INBAR has created an estimated 250,000 jobs through our work with IFAD (Report available here).
- Training and capacity building. INBAR has trained somewhere between 15,000 and 25,000 people across the world in various aspects of bamboo value chain management. In the last few weeks, we welcomed trainees from Ecuador to visit China on a month-long training course.
- Raising standards for bamboo and rattan, most importantly through our work with the International Standardization Organization (ISO). INBAR plays a key role in ISO Technical Committee 165, on timber structures, and Technical Committee 296, on bamboo and rattan – helping establish and promote standards which improve the quality and consistency of bamboo and rattan products. More and more INBAR Members are becoming an active part of these Committees.
- Restoring desertified land to productivity. Bamboo can make a huge difference to degraded lands. This is why, at an INBAR Council Meeting in 2014, 40 INBAR Member states pledged to reforest at least 5 million hectares of land using bamboo. Currently, bamboo is also part of a large World Bank-funded project which INBAR is leading in Ethiopia, to restore degraded watersheds, and is included in many land restoration policies around the world. We reiterated our support to supporting land degradation action using bamboo at UNCCD, COP13.
- Combatting climate change. Bamboo stores carbon at a very high rate and can create products with a low or carbon-negative lifecycle. Bamboo products also provide an alternative income stream for communities as well as a resilient form of housing – making it a useful material for adapting to the impacts of climate change. INBAR works hard to promote bamboo’s use in climate change mitigation and adaptation.
- Raising bamboo and rattan’s profile in international policy circles. INBAR is an Observer to various UN Conventions, and more information about our work can be found here.
- Sharing knowledge. INBAR is proud to be a large network of Member states, over 40 of which are from the Global South. We share knowledge, technologies and solutions across borders, with great success. In addition to our usual training work, INBAR is currently heading an important project on South-South Knowledge Transfer Strategies, which connects countries across East Africa and India, and trilateral collaboration between the Netherlands, China and several countries with underdeveloped bamboo resources. We will soon be releasing a report with the UN on our work facilitating South-South Cooperation.