Over the past decade, FAO GIAHS Initiative has been piloting an innovative model for engaging communities, local and national governments in the adaptive management of agricultural heritage and conservation of system’s goods and services. It has served as learning laboratories for new ways to sustain nature’s bounty, ecosystems’ health, conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and genetic resources for food and agriculture, protection of traditional knowledge system, culture, and more importantly, for building a bridge for the sustainable future.
"If we lose the unique and irreplaceable agricultural heritage, it will be more difficult for us to adapt to addressing many issues of sustainable natural resources conservation, food security and nutrition, climate change, and many environmental concerns" said Moujahed Achouri, Director of the Land and Water Division, at the opening of the meeting. "It will be more difficult to produce nutritious, healthy and varied diets that are appropriate for local peoples and for their culture" he added.
Based on the experiences and lessons learnt of the past years, the meeting will be an opportunity to have an open discussion with partners and member countries, as well as the Scientific Committee and Steering Committee members. The Scientific and Steering Committee meeting will stress the importance of FAO’s support to the Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems.
FAO started piloting GIAHS in six countries: Algeria, Chile, China, Peru, Philippines and Tunisia. Work such as local and national interventions, capacity building and policy advocacy, to raise the awareness of the unique, important values, multitude of goods and services of GIAHS. A total of 6 new sites will be designated during the meeting. 3 from China, 2 from Korea and 1 from Iran.
"Protecting and learning from our pilot agricultural heritage systems like the ones in China, Chile, Peru, Philippines, Algeria, Tunisia, India, Japan" continued Achouri "is one of the keys to sustainability".
Given the increasing interest in the GIAHS Initiative among member states and partners, a policy agenda has been set in FAO, and discussion has started in order to strengthen the GIAHS initiative by securing a formal approval of the GIAHS operational framework by the FAO Governing Bodies. Through this process, it is foreseen to strengthen GIAHS as an FAO corporate programme and it is hoped that formal recognition can be sought through a Conference Resolution.
Background note and provisional Agenda