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Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS)
Transplanting © FAO / Lena Gubler

The overall goal of the GIAHS Programme is to identify and safeguard Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems and their associated landscapes, agricultural biodiversity, knowledge systems and culture

Goal and objectives

The overall goal of the GIAHS Programme is to identify and safeguard Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems and their associated landscapes, agricultural biodiversity and knowledge systems through catalyzing and establishing a long-term programme to support such systems and enhance global, national and local benefits derived through their dynamic conservation, sustainable management and enhanced viability.

To achieve this goal, the main objectives are:

  1. To leverage global and national recognition of the importance of agricultural heritage systems and institutional support for their safeguard;
    • global recognition is obtained through the creation of the Agricultural Heritage Systems categories supported by governments, FAO governing bodies, UNESCO, World Heritage Centre and other partners:
    • national recognition and awareness is raised by improving understanding of the threats that such agricultural systems face, of their global importance and of the benefits that they provide at all levels.
  2. Capacity building of local farming communities and local and national institutions to conserve and manage GIAHS, generate income and add economic value to goods and services of such systems in a sustainable fashion;
    • identify ways to mitigate risks of erosion of biodiversity and traditional knowledge, land degradation and threats posed by globalization processes, and skewed policies and incentives;
    • strengthen conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and natural resources, reducing vulnerability to climate change, enhancing sustainable agriculture and rural development and as a result contributing to food security and poverty alleviation;
    • enhancing the benefits derived by local populations from conservation and sustainable use of their resources and their ingenious systems and rewarding them through the payment for Environmental Services, Eco-labeling, Eco-tourism and other incentive mechanisms and market opportunities.
  3. To promote enabling regulatory policies and incentive environments to support the conservation, evolutionary adaptation and viability of GIAHS;
    • assessment of existing policies and incentive mechanisms, and identification of modalities to provide support for sustainable agricultural practices;
    • promotion of national and international processes leading to improved policies and incentive mechanisms.