I recently went to China to attend and give two talks at the 2018 BARC (Bamboo and Rattan Conference). The event was hosted by INBAR, an intergovernmental organisation of 43 member states, which promotes the use of bamboo and rattan for environmentally sustainable development and green growth.
1500 participants from almost 70 countries, over 20 Ministers and high-level policymakers, 80 side sessions, and three large plenaries – the first Global Bamboo and Rattan Congress has proven beyond doubt that bamboo and rattan are critical tools for the future.
From day one, it was clear that the Global Bamboo and Rattan Congress (June 25-27, Beijing) was going to be important. For the opening summit on Monday, China’s Premier Li Keqiang, President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia, President Lenín Moreno of Ecuador, José Graziano da Silva, Director of the Foo and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and Achim Steiner, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme, all submitted messages of support – praising bamboo and rattan’s role in creating jobs, supporting rural development and helping with national climate change mitigation strategies.
Throughout the next few days, internationally recognised figures – such as Gunter Pauli, spokesperson for sustainability, and John Hardy, creator of the famous bamboo Green School in Bali – took to the stage to share their experiences of using bamboo and rattan, and the urgency of converting to more sustainable materials. There were many themes at the Congress – bamboo construction, poverty alleviation, land restoration and climate change, to name a few – but throughout all the 77 side sessions, one message kept coming through: bamboo and rattan are already part of the global conversation.
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I took some of our biggest poles to China to present to Hans Friederich, Director General of INBAR. They have now found a home in his office.