I. International Cooperative Projects

1. The International Centre for Bamboo and Rattan (ICBR) and the International Bamboo and Rattan Organization (INBAR) jointly set up a project on “Research on the policies of Bamboo as a Substitute for Plastic (BASP) and the publicity and promotion of related technology and products”. The project produced brochures, videos, and other promotional materials on BASP, and promoted BASP in primary and middle schools in Beijing and Hainan province, China. During the promotional trips, interactive activities exposed students to the charm of bamboo in daily lives, which effectively enhanced their awareness and understanding of the concept of BASP and prompted them to actively respond to this initiative. In addition, the project also conducted in-depth research in bamboo-producing areas and bamboo enterprises to explore the potential of bamboo as a substitution for plastics.


Promotional Activities at Mingyuan Educational Academy Primary School in Beijing


Promotional Activities at Wenmen Primary School in Hainan Province


2. ICBR assisted INBAR with the launch of its pilot BASP projects. The projects are set to develop a new paradigm and model for the whole chain of BASP from bamboo genetics, cultivation, performance, to bamboo products and their evaluation, with a view to realizing the long-term goal of the substitution of bamboo for plastics across the world.


II. International Academic Conferences

1. The First International Symposium on Bamboo as a Substitute for Plastic was organized by ICBR on November 7-8, 2023. Themed on “Collaborative Innovation to Globally Promote Bamboo as a Substitute for Plastic”, the Symposium offered a robust platform for stakeholders from around the world to meet and exchange knowledge and best practices, explore innovation opportunities, improve market mechanisms and encourage policy formulation, ultimately seeking to facilitate the achievement of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Global Action Plan for Bamboo as a Substitute for Plastic (2023–2030) and China's Three-Year Action Plan for Accelerating the Development of Bamboo as a Substitute for Plastic, both of which ICBR participated in drafting, were respectively officially launched and given an official interpretation at the symposium.


Co-sponsored by the National Forestry and Grassland Administration of China (NFGA) and INBAR, this symposium is an international, professional, high-profile, and high-level academic event held on the first anniversary of the release of the BASP Initiative by the Chinese Government and INBAR. The opening ceremony was attended and addressed by Wang Zhizhen, Vice Chair of the 11th CPPCC National Committee and Academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guan Zhiou, Administrator of NFGA, and Bishnu Shrestha, Ambassador of Nepal to China and representative of the Chair of INBAR Council. Jiang Zehui, Co-Chair of INBAR Board of Trustees and Fellow of the International Academy of Wood Science (IAWS), delivered the keynote speech. The opening ceremony was also attended by representatives from 36 INBAR member countries, 2 observer countries, 12 other countries and 8 international organizations; representatives of relevant ministries and commissions of the State Council of China, members of the INBAR Chinese Coordination Leading Group, NFGA, and the heads of provincial departments in charge of forestry and grassland; as well as representatives of relevant scientific research institutes,   institutions of higher learning, and enterprises.


Opening Ceremony of the 1st International Symposium on Bamboo as a Substitute for Plastic


2. On December 18-19, 2023, the International Young Scientist Forum for Climate Change - Bamboo-based Solutions was held online, co-organized by ICBR and China-Canada Joint Laboratory for Bamboo & Rattan Science and Technology, which was established by ICBR. Aimed at exploring innovative bamboo-based solutions to combat climate change, the forum attracted more than 500 people from more than 20 countries around the world to join online and participate in the exchange and discussion.


III. International Academic Exchanges

1. Seven delegations were dispatched abroad in 2023 to carry out academic exchanges or scientific cooperation. Specifically, ICBR’s researchers attended the 2023 IUFRO-Division 5 Conference in Australia, the plenary meeting of the WTO Dialogue on Plastics Pollution and Environmentally Sustainable Plastics Trade in Switzerland, Silvilaser 2023 in the UK, and the International Symposium on “Forest Conservation and Ecosystem Restoration in Asia” in Korea; exchanged research on forest and bamboo breeding in Canada; and visited Ethiopia to conduct a project feasibility study.



ICBR Expert Presenting Her Research at the IUFRO-Division 5 Conference


2. ICBR completed a cooperative project with a foreign expert. The expert hired by the project worked with ICBR’s research team as they jointly carried out genetic research on the synthesis mechanism of the “three major elements” of moso bamboo. An academic paper, as part of the result of this collaboration, was accepted by the Journal of Environmental Management, which has an impact factor of 8.9. In addition, the foreign expert supervised ICBR’s postgraduate students and had academic exchanges with ICBR researchers for ten times.


3. Seven delegations from abroad visited ICBR to conduct academic exchanges on bamboo composite materials, chemical utilization of bamboo and rattan, etc.


4. Dr. Wang Ge, a research professor at ICBR, was elected as a fellow of the International Academy of Wood Science (IAWS) in 2023. Dr. Wang is the research group leader of bamboo fiber composites at ICBR. His research interests include the processing technology of bamboo-wood composite materials, bamboo-wood structural components, as well as bamboo fiber-based composites. He has presided and completed more than 40 international or national research projects.


5. Seven of ICBR’s experts were appointed to the editorial board of Advances in Bamboo Science, the first scientific journal on bamboo that is published in English internationally.


IV. Working with ISO/TC 296

ICBR holds the Secretariat of the ISO Technical Committee on Bamboo and Rattan (ISO/TC 296) and continues to actively participate in the work related to the development and revision of its international standards. At present, seven experts of ICBR are registered to work in ISO/TC 296 working groups, among which two are serving as project leaders on developing the international standard for bamboo drinking straws and bamboo-wood composite for container flooring, respectively. In addition, ICBR continues to undertake the work of the Secretariat of ISO/TC 296, providing support for its daily operations in terms of personnel, training and working conditions.


V. International Capacity Building

In 2023, ICBR worked actively towards the goal of “training 100,000 people for Africa by 2030” as promised by the Chinese Government, by successfully hosting four international training seminars covering the fields of the science, technology, innovation and standardization in bamboo and rattan, the sustainable development of bamboo and rattan industries, bamboo and rattan weaving techniques, and the sustainable development and management of bamboo and rattan resources. The four seminars trained a total of 145 participants from 16 countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.


Opening Ceremony of the Seminar on Bamboo and Rattan Weaving Techniques for Guinea


The story of George Sarpong, a Ghanaian bamboo artisan, is one of the six stories that made into A Shared Path, a documentary in celebration of the 10th Anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative in 2023. George attended three bamboo and rattan training courses organized by ICBR, respectively in 2016, 2018 and 2019. The “magic” of turning bamboo into “gold” lit up George's heart. Upon returning to Ghana, George used the knowledge and skills acquired in the trainings to set up a bamboo workshop and trained more than 200 craftsmen voluntarily, driving an enthusiasm for bamboo and rattan among the locals. Bamboo has not only increased George's income fivefold but has also given more and more people access to livelihoods and wealth.


George Sarpong (on the right) at the Training Course on the Development of Bamboo and Rattan Products in Ghana