As the Paris Agreement takes effect in the Philippines, the country’s Ambassador to Beijing welcomes the proposal to have bamboo and rattan as a climate-smart tool for development.
By Tan Xingyu and Wang Jiping
21 April 2017 – To celebrate Earth Day, the Embassy of the Republic of the Philippines hosted an event on ‘Bamboo and rattan for ASEAN sustainable development’, with INBAR’s support. The event highlighted the importance of bamboo and rattan to drive sustainable, climate-smart growth in Southeast Asia.
Notably, the event took place one day before the Paris Agreement comes into effect in the Philippines. As such, bamboo and rattan’s importance for fighting climate change was the focus of the day. In his opening remarks, Ambassador Jose Santiago Sta. Romana praised “the positive contributions of bamboo and rattan to climate change mitigation and adaptation and increased resilience to natural disasters.”
Ambassador Sta. Romana mentioned in his remarks INBAR’s strategic Vision on Bamboo and Rattan for ASEAN Development, which was launched at the event. The Philippines is the 2017 Chair for ASEAN.
The Ambassador informed attendees that ASEAN accounts for approximately 20% of the global trade in bamboo and rattan. However, he also noted that, despite their potential to drive green growth and sustainable development in the area, Southeast Asian bamboo and rattan industries are still in their early stages compared to China.
In his following speech, Dr Hans Friederich, INBAR Director General, addressed these concerns and introduced attendees to INBAR’s new Vision for Bamboo and Rattan for ASEAN Development – an important strategy document and call for all ASEAN members to come together in support of bamboo and rattan.
Speaking to attendees, Dr Friederich noted that “Bamboo and rattan represent a unique opportunity to promote ASEAN centrality during the 50th anniversary of ASEAN”, and outlined INBAR’s Vision for future collaboration in the following priority areas:
- A call to recognise the importance of bamboo and rattan for helping to meet various national and global goals across ASEAN countries – including REDD+, the Paris Agreement, the Sustainable Development Goals, and the Bonn Challenge;
- The need to mobilise resources from appropriate banks and funding mechanisms, such as the Asian Development Bank, Green Climate Fund and Global Environment Facility, as well as China’s South-South Cooperation Fund on Climate Change;
- The need for INBAR to establish a Southeast Asian base, to better represent and work with its Member states in ASEAN;
- The importance of developing appropriate policy frameworks that support the sustainable management and trade of bamboo and rattan resources;
The need to conduct an assessment of bamboo and rattan species in the area, including the types of bamboo and rattan, which ecosystem services they provide and what opportunities they present.
H.E. Santiago Sta. Romana commended INBAR on its ASEAN Vision as “a welcome development for us in the region”, and urged other ASEAN member states to consider INBAR’s Vision. The Philippines Embassy in Beijing has already conveyed INBAR’s ASEAN Vision to Manila and to the Philippines’ Permanent Mission to ASEAN in Jakarta, Indonesia.
After the formal introductory remarks and launch of INBAR’s Vision, attendees participated in a bamboo planting activity in the gardens outside the Embassy of the Philippines: a testament to the longstanding friendship between INBAR, China and the countries of Southeast Asia. Following the bamboo planting, individuals from various key ASEAN institutions convened an important dialogue, where they discussed the future of bamboo and rattan for ASEAN sustainable development in Southeast Asia.