January 5, 2007
January 5, 2006 - As the movement away from petroleum-based products gathers momentum, the year 2009 has been declared the International Year of Natural Fibers (IYNF) by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly at a recent meeting in New York.
The UN says that the aim of the IYNF 2009 is to develop the efficiency and sustainability of agricultural industries that employ millions of people, contribute to food security and provide new economic development opportunities.
"The International Year of Natural Fibers 2009 will raise consumer awareness of natural fibers in the world economy as well as within the textile sector," said a press statement from the International Wool Textile Organization (IWTO), which welcomed the move. It is hoped the initiative will strengthen demand for natural fiber products, improve the livelihoods of the farmers who produce them and revenues for countries that export them.
The wide range of natural fibers includes wool, jute, cotton, flax, silk, sisal, coconut fiber and many others including a range of cellulosics. Some are produced from plants, others from animals, and they are used in clothing, interior textiles and other consumer goods, as well as in industrial applications. Virtually every country in the world produces some natural fibers.
Fashion shows, exhibitions, conferences, TV documentaries, books and programs for school children are some of the activities that will be associated with the IYNF 2009.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) will coordinate the IYNF 2009, with participation by organizations representing the wool, cotton, jute, linen, coir, hemp and other hard fiber industries.
IWTO will represent the wool and animal hair sector on the steering committee for the IYNF 2009.
The American Sheep Industry Association is the official representative of the U.S. wool industry to the IWTO.
Additional information can be found at www.iwto.org
. Staff contact: Rita Kourlis Samuelson, ext. 29