NEW YORK: The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on 7 December granted Observer Status to the International Bamboo and Rattan Organisation – the world’s only intergovernmental organisation that uses bamboo and rattan for sustainable development, representing millions of bamboo and rattan producers from 43 countries across the Global South.
The decision to grant Observer status to INBAR was taken by 193 members of the UNGA during its 67th plenary meeting of the 72nd session in New York. The resolution was submitted by China—INBAR’s host country—and was co-sponsored by 29 INBAR Member States, as well as bamboo and rattan consumer countries. China’s bamboo sector employs some eight million people, has an annual trade value of USD 30 billion and is an important part of ongoing environmental initiatives: an encouraging success story for countries across the world where bamboo is grown or used.
The decision paves the way for INBAR to contribute directly to the work of the General Assembly and reflects the vital role bamboo and rattan can play in implementing the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. INBAR has already been closely engaging with the UN as an observer to UN Economic and Social Council, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, and the UN Convention on Biological Diversity.
“This is huge recognition of the role that bamboo and rattan can play in contributing to a better and more sustainable world. Bamboo and rattan can be important tools for global development and green trade, and we need to encourage all UN members to be part of the conversation”, INBAR Director General Dr. Hans Friederich said.
Bamboo and rattan grow across the Global South, and have been an integral part of environmental protection and livelihoods for millennia: from building earthquake-resilient housing in Latin America, to controlling desertification across parts of Africa, and as a source of paper, packaging, flooring and furniture across the world.
For twenty years, INBAR has been using bamboo and rattan to help alleviate poverty, encourage sustainable consumption and green trade, restore degraded lands and combat climate change. On INBAR’s 20th anniversary in November this year, the organisation received a congratulatory message from China’s President Xi Jinping, who affirmed China’s support for “INBAR’s endeavours… to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”
The Co-Chair of INBAR’s Board of Trustees and Vice Chair of China’s Committee of Population, Resources & Environment, Madame Jiang Zehui, said: “This is another excellent gift for INBAR’s 20th anniversary after receiving Chinese President Xi Jinping’s congratulatory letter. Thanks for the Chinese Government and all INBAR member countries’ support to help INBAR achieve this. As the host government of INBAR, China is willing to work with INBAR more closely in facilitating South-South collaboration by accelerating the development of global bamboo and rattan resources.”