Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS)

"Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems" (GIAHS) are outstanding landscapes of aesthetic beauty that combine agricultural biodiversity, resilient ecosystems and a valuable cultural heritage. Located in specific sites around the world, they sustainably provide multiple goods and services, food and livelihood security for millions of small-scale farmers.

Unfortunately, these agricultural systems are threatened by many factors including climate change and increased competition for natural resources. They are also dealing with migration due to low economic viability, which has resulted in traditional farming practices being abandoned and endemic species and breeds being lost.

These ancestral agricultural systems constitute the foundation for contemporary and future agricultural innovations and technologies. Their cultural, ecological and agricultural diversity is still evident in many parts of the world, maintained as unique systems of agriculture.

The countries bordering the Mediterranean are custodians of knowledge and skills that have made it possible to develop agricultural systems of global significance.

The Mediterranean diet, like other traditional healthy diets, can promote sustainable agriculture aimed at protecting agro-biodiversity and ecosystems.

Traditional healthy diets and good agricultural practices in GIAHS sites can attain similar objectives. Both contribute to the promotion and preservation of agricultural heritage.

Due to its close association with agricultural production and local cultural identity of farmers, economic incentives and strong link with local identities would be factors for strengthening conservation and restoration of the ecosystems in GIAHS sites.

Not only do traditional healthy diets promote sustainable agriculture and preserve traditional skills, knowledge, practices and traditions, but they also have good nutritional values and many health benefits.

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