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Support grows for bamboo as replacement for plastic
From:ChinaDaily  |  2022-11-09 09:19

World leaders and officials have pledged to ramp up efforts to tap the potential of bamboo as a nature-based solution for sustainable development, as they gathered personally or virtually in Beijing for the celebration of the International Bamboo and Rattan Organization's 25th anniversary and the second Global Bamboo and Rattan Congress.

The first intergovernmental organization established in China, INBAR aims to promote environmentally sustainable development using bamboo and rattan. In addition to its secretariat headquarters in China, it has regional offices in Cameroon, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Ghana and India.

The organization now has 49 member states.

In his video address to the event, Gerd Mueller, director-general of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, underscored a series of benefits bamboo and rattan can bring and vowed continued support to INBAR from his agency.

"All who know can see that bamboo and rattan are fast-growing and resilient. They provide forest cover, and they provide livelihoods," he said. "Products from bamboo reduce timber demand. They provide fiber and fuel."

Having supported INBAR since 1997, UNIDO is looking at more cooperation after the duo reached a new relationship agreement last year, he said, citing circular economies and South-South technology and knowledge transfer as two of the potential cooperation areas.

"UNIDO will continue supporting INBAR on using bamboo as a nature-based solution for sustainable development," he said.

Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso highlighted the important roles bamboo has played in the country's development and extended his gratitude to China's support to help tap its bamboo resources.

In Ecuador, more than 500,000 people are directly linked to bamboo-related activities, and almost 12 percent of rural employment is linked to this plant, he said.

"Together with the government of China, one of our strategic allies, we seek to enhance cooperation across the bamboo chain, which we reaffirmed in Beijing a few months ago," he said.

"I take this opportunity to thank the government of China for having granted training scholarships to producers, technicians and officials in the production and treatment of bamboo and also for bringing high-level specialists in these areas to Ecuador."

At the event, China and INBAR launched the Bamboo as a Substitute for Plastic Initiative as a potential solution to plastic pollution.

In his address on behalf of the chair of the 12th Council of INBAR, Martin Mpana, ambassador of Cameroon to China, called upon all INBAR member states to support the initiative.

Plastic pollution remains one of the greatest and most urgent environmental problems that requires broad-based and concerted global action, he said. "Therefore, we should be proud to demonstrate and promote bamboo as one of the eco-friendly alternatives to plastics."

Guan Zhiou, head of China's National Forestry and Grassland Administration, said the administration will hammer out an action plan for the initiative to encourage the consumption of bamboo products instead of plastic ones.

In a move to accelerate the global process of substituting plastic with bamboo, it will make consistent efforts to improve the international standard system for bamboo products, he said.