The vast potential of bamboo for environmental sustainability and economic resiliency will soon be further explored after environment officials, scientists, and researchers in Southeast Asia agreed to establish a regional network for the endeavor.
Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Roy A. Cimatu said the move aims to help address the adverse effects of climate change.
The establishment of the ASEAN Bamboo Network was the most prominent feature of the resolution adopted by participants to the first-ever ASEAN Bamboo Congress held in Iloilo City from Aug. 12 to 16.
The five-day event organized by the DENR’s Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau (ERDB) brought together government officials, scientists and researchers within the ASEAN region, as well as representatives from the World Bamboo Organization, Brazil, Qatar and Peru.
Cimatu described the resolution as a “decisive output” of the conference as it enabled formal commitment of the signatories towards “a sustainable and climate resilient future for the entire region.”
“With this resolution, we are assuring that we will put our utmost endeavors in the continuous research and development in bamboo production technologies, as well as stronger linkages within the ASEAN region,” Cimatu pointed out.
Bamboo is widely recognized as a “versatile renewable resource” that protects the environment, improves the microclimate, controls soil erosion, protects riverbanks, reduces flash floods, serves as windbreak, and sequesters atmospheric carbon efficiently.
It also has good properties comparable to most wood species and offers a variety of uses either in its unmanufactured form or as processed into engineered products, and as such, reduces the demand burden for wood-based products from the forests thereby arresting deforestation.
The attendees to the regional conference were convinced that engaging into bamboo production and the manufacturing of bamboo products provide job opportunities and steady income source among farmer groups, local communities, artisans and workers along the value chain.