Why GIAHS Matter
The dynamic conservation of Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) is conceptualized around the idea that globalization, environmental degradation and increasing population pressure have placed production systems under stress, and hence, resulted in the loss of important biological diversity, economic returns and livelihoods especially for the marginalized and poor, traditional family farming communities. The promotion of GIAHS can help in increasing on-farm food production and improving rural livelihoods.
As poverty alleviation and food security remain elusive for nearly a billion of the world’s population, and with climate change threatening major disruptions with particularly strong effects on the poorest and most marginalized, it is clear humanity will need new models of agriculture in the immediate future that should include forms of farming that are more sustainable, biodiverse, local, resilient, and socially just.
Inevitably, modern farming will have to be rooted in the ecological rationale of traditional farming systems since the future of the world’s population will undoubtedly depend on key components of biodiversity and ecosystem services that are still found in these cradles of agricultural diversity.
Promising pathways shaped on traditional farming systems can help in increasing on-farm food production and improving rural livelihoods thus substantially contributing to the Millennium Development Goals of combating hunger and poverty. This is at the heart of the global development agenda.