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Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS)

5th ERAHS conference held in Minabe and Tanabe region, Wakayama, Japan

22 October 2018

The 5th Conference of the East Asia Research Association for Agricultural Heritage Systems (ERAHS) was held from 26th to 29th August 2018 in Wakayama Prefecture Minabe-Tanabe region, Japan, home to the "Minabe and Tanabe Ume System" which was designated as GIAHS, .

ERAHS, originated from the concept by United Nations University (UNU), was established by the proposal of China to promote exchanging academic exchanges amongst designated GIAHS sites in China, Japan and the Republic of Korea. The three countries take turns to host the annual conference and the United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS) serves as the ERAHS Secretariat of Japan.

Approximately 300 participants including about 100 from China and the Republic of Korea participated in this 5th Conference. On the first day, Mr. Yoshinobu Nisaka, Wakayama Prefecture Governor, and Director General of Kinki Regional Agricultural Administration Office graced the opening ceremony, and FAO GIAHS global coordinator Mr Yoshihide Endo, FAO GIAHS (Scientific Advisory Group SAG), Vice-Chairperson Professor Min Qingwen, and FAO SAG member/Senior Visiting Professor of UNU-IAS Professor Kazuhiko Takeuchi gave the keynote presentations. Parallel discussions were then held in four sessions with themes on tourism, succession of GIAHS to the next generation, branding, and participation of multi-stakeholders. Following this, keynote presentations were also made by agriculture ministry’s representatives of Japan, China and the Republic of Korea, then a reporting session was made on parallel sessions. At the closing ceremony, GIAHS global coordinator Mr Endo commended the efforts of ERAHS and he would like to see such wonderful activities also extended to around the world.

On the second day, the participants made field visits to the GIAHS site where they visited the Wakayama prefecture Ume research center, Minabe town Ume promotion center, Kishu-Ishigami Ume Forest in Tanabe city, Kishu-Bincho charcoal memorial park etc. On the third day, two thematic sessions on monitoring and evaluation of GIAHS and biodiversity conservation were also held.

In particular, this ERAHS conference emphasized and showcased the activities of young people such as university (graduate) students and regional cooperation of youths. Suggestions such as creating a GIAHS youth network and a special group meeting by young people at the next ERAHS conference were also proposed. Furhermore, exchange between domestic and foreign GIAHS designated sites was also active. It is expected that these exchanges and knowledge shared will be utilized to revitalize the rural area through the conservation of GIAHS.

All the presentations can be accessed at the following link:

https://www.giahs-minabetanabe.jp/erahs/en/

The next ERAHS will be held from 19th May (Sunday) to 22nd (Wednesday) 2019 at the GIAHS site of Hadong (tea cultivation system) in the Republic of Korea.