Science and Environment

Iloilo holds first ever bamboo congress

Rhodina Villanueva - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — A “bamboo congress” is being held this week in Iloilo City, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has announced.

The DENR’s Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau (ERDB) spearheads the event dubbed “the first ASEAN Bamboo Congress for Climate Change Adaptation towards Environmental Sustainability and Economic Resiliency” from Aug. 12 to 16, 2019 at the Iloilo International Convention Center.

According to ERDB director and national coordinator of the Bamboo Plantation Development Project (BPDP) Sofio Quintana, the event convenes more than 200 researchers, academics, policymakers, professionals and business groups within the ASEAN region to discuss and exchange information on bamboo and sustainable environmental strategies. 

Officials from the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan in Beijing, China, and the World Bamboo Organization as well as representatives from other non-ASEAN countries like Australia, USA and China, are also expected to attend the congress.

Quintana also said the conduct of the event is in recognition of the importance of bamboo in adapting to and mitigating the effects of climate change.

“Bamboo is considered as a valuable economic and environmental resource, and ERDB hopes to continue to innovate ways on increasing awareness on the promising potentials of bamboo especially in attaining environmental sustainability and economic resiliency,” he pointed out.

Angelito Exconde, assistant national coordinator of BPDP, said that through the congress, ERDB hopes to strengthen partnership with other countries in enhancing science-based research and development on bamboo.

“The congress will support the bamboo industry, and how this industry can contribute to sustainable economic growth and environmental sustainability,” Exconde said.

Aside from being the fastest growing plant on earth, bamboo is also known for its resilience, versatility, beauty and strength. It is a source of food and construction materials, and can be used as furnishing. Bamboo also helps in carbon sequestration with its capacity to store 39.8 to 44.3 percent of carbon in its total biomass.

“We foresee this (congress) as a relevant and leading avenue for the improvement of bamboo information not only in the ASEAN region but globally,” Quintana said.

He added, “Climate change is a pressing issue, but there is strength in numbers. I believe that if various stakeholders will strongly collaborate, we can respond fully to this problem.”

ERDB is the principal research and development arm of DENR. It has done research on bamboo since 1987. The bureau has established a Bambusetum at the Los Baños Experimental Station to conserve and preserve more than 40 different rare and endangered bamboo species.

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