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Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS)

The GIAHS Programme promotes public understanding, awareness,
national and international recognition of Agricultural Heritage systems.



The GIAHS Programme

Features and criteria

Food
and livelihood security

Biodiversity
and ecosystem function

Knowledge systems
and adapted technologies

Culture, value systems
and social organisations
(Agri-culture)

Remarkable landscapes,
land and water resources management features

Worldwide, specific agricultural systems and landscapes have been created, shaped and maintained by generations of farmers and herders based on diverse natural resources, using locally adapted management practices.

Building on local knowledge and experience, these ingenious agri-cultural systems reflect the evolution of humankind, the diversity of its knowledge, and its profound relationship with nature.

These systems have resulted not only in outstanding landscapes, maintenance and adaptation of globally significant agricultural biodiversity, indigenous knowledge systems and resilient ecosystems, but also food and livelihood security for millions of poor and small farmers in a sustainable manner.

In order to safeguard and support the world’s agri-cultural heritage systems, in 2002 FAO started an initiative for identification and the dynamic conservation of Globally Important Agricultural Heritage systems (GIAHS).

This GIAHS Initiative which is now GIAHS Programme promotes public understanding, awareness, national and international recognition of Agricultural Heritage systems.

Looking to safeguard the social, cultural, economic and environmental goods and services these provide to family farmers, smallholders, indigenous peoples and local communities, the programme fosters an integrated approach combining sustainable agriculture and rural development.