The Global Bamboo and Rattan Congress 2018 (BARC 2018) showcased new and emerging technologies for processing and using bamboo fiber and composite materials, highlighting its potential as a renewable natural resource.
Congress participants emphasized how bamboo and rattan can contribute to the SDGs on: no poverty (SDG 1); affordable and clean energy (SDG 7); sustainable cities and communities (SDG 11); responsible consumption and production (SDG 12); climate action (SDG 13); life on land (SDG 15); and partnerships for the Goals (SDG 17).
INBAR announced outcomes of BARC 2018 at the end of the conference, including several project agreements and upcoming meetings.
27 June 2018: The Global Bamboo and Rattan Congress 2018 (BARC 2018) highlighted the value of bamboo and rattan-based activities in achieving international policy objectives, including the SDGs and commitments under the Paris Agreement on climate change. The Congress showcased new and emerging technologies for processing and using bamboo fiber and composite materials, highlighting its potential as a renewable natural resource.
Congress speakers and participants emphasized ways that bamboo and rattan can contribute to the SDGs on: no poverty (SDG 1); affordable and clean energy (SDG 7); sustainable cities and communities (SDG 11); responsible consumption and production (SDG 12); climate action (SDG 13); life on land (SDG 15); and partnerships for the Goals (SDG 17): with reference to activities in Asia, Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean.
BARC 2018 took place from 25-27 June, on the theme of ‘Enhancing South-South Cooperation for Green Development through Bamboo and Rattan’s Contributions to the Sustainable Development Goals.’ The Congress, organized by the International Bamboo and Rattan Organization (INBAR) and China’s National Forestry and Grassland Administration (NGFA), welcomed approximately 1,200 participants, including 500 visitors from 68 other countries. A ministerial summit and three high-level dialogues took place, in addition to 80 parallel sessions.
On SDG 1, speakers drew attention to projects that have promoted women’s entrepreneurship and empowerment through developing and promoting bamboo and rattan-based products. Terry Sunderland, University of British Columbia (UBC), called for a holistic approach and cautioned that calls for increased cultivation of bamboo should take into account land tenure and the role of women in economic activities, to ensure that rural communities truly benefit.
On SDG 7, participants discussed ways to expand the manufacture and distribution of bamboo charcoal, which is already being undertaken in Ghana, Jamaica and several other countries, noting the possibilities for small businesses in making bamboo charcoal briquettes, and the health benefits of substituting smoke-free bamboo charcoal for traditional fuels.
On housing (SDG target 11.1), discussions focused on construction standards and the properties of bamboo-based building products, including their lightness, flexibility, and superior insulating properties, as well as their resistance to fires, land subsidence and seismic activity. Participants noted that bamboo has been successfully used to build emergency shelters, and that the development of new types of resin, which used in conjunction with bamboo-based products, creates non-carcinogenic alternatives to treated pine.
On SDG 13, speakers highlighted the high levels of carbon sequestration in bamboo, and discussed methodologies for calculating the extent of sequestration. They noted that bamboo also has benefits for reducing carbon emissions in terms of emissions that are avoided by substituting bamboo for conventional timber products.
Regarding SDG 15, many participants expressed enthusiasm for cultivating bamboo to restore degraded lands and promote disaster risk reduction (DRR). They noted the value of bamboo as a critical food source for the giant panda, adding that conservation efforts around this iconic species could serve as “a giant umbrella” for the conservation of other species.
Discussions also touched on bamboo and rattan-related activities that promote food security (SDG 2), gender equality through women’s economic empowerment (SDG 5), and innovation in industry (SDG 9), with participants highlighting the market potential of bamboo across a variety of applications, including hi-tech and niche products in healthcare, sporting goods, and bamboo-composite building materials.
The conference adopted in principle the Beijing Declaration, which affirms INBAR member States’ support for developing the global bamboo and rattan industry through assessment of stocks, market and technology research, innovation, and standard setting. The Declaration calls upon national governments and other relevant parties to implement several recommendations, including, inter alia: carrying out inventories and assessments; establishing value chains accessing local, regional, and international markets by way of appropriate standards setting and quality control; encouraging bamboo and rattan technology innovation and research, as well as exchange of know-how. The Declaration also calls for investment from bilateral and multilateral financing mechanisms to support bamboo and rattan programmes and initiatives.
INBAR announced outcomes of BARC 2018 at the end of the conference, including several project agreements and upcoming meetings. Delegates noted agreement to initiate or extend several projects with UN agencies, partners, and donors, including the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the Government of the Netherlands, the Gaborone Declaration for Sustainable Development, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO), and conservation agencies willing to collaborate on the Giant Panda National Park that is being established by the Government of China. Further, the China Green Carbon Foundation (CGCF) offered to offset the carbon emissions generated by the Congress within the next 10 years through a bamboo-planting project in Yunnan province, China, thus making the Congress a carbon-neutral event.
Also at the meeting’s close, J.C. Hutchinson, Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Jamaica, announced a Caribbean Bamboo Conference to take place from 27-29 November 2018. It will bring together policy makers from the English-speaking Caribbean with experts from INBAR member States to discuss challenges and opportunities for bamboo in the region. [BARC 2018 Website] [INBAR Website] [NFGA Website] [IISD RS Summary of BARC 2018]