China and FAO working together to preserve globally important agricultural heritage sites

Agreement contributes $2 million to help share practices and knowledge from network of more than 90 sites around the world

23/02/2015 - 

February 2015, Rome - FAO and the People’s Republic of China have agreed to bolster their collaboration in the safeguarding of iconic cultural farming systems such as the spectacular Hani rice terraces in Yunnan province.

The two partners have recently signed a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) - Strengthening the Implementation of Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) Initiative through Capacity Development under the South-South Cooperation (SSC) Framework - to scale-up cooperation under FAO's Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems Initiative.

FAO is actively engaging with its global, regional and country partners to identify, support and safeguard the traditional systems of agriculture, forestry, fisheries and livestock which make up GIAHS. This work emphasizes the pivotal role that small-scale producers, family farmers, indigenous peoples and local communities play in the conservation and sustainable utilization of biodiversity and genetic resources.

"Since 2002, when FAO launched the GIAHS, the initiative has played an important and positive role in protecting biological diversity, carrying forward indigenous agricultural knowledge, invigorating rural areas and increasing farmers’ income, and has provided a new approach to achieving global food security and agricultural sustainability," said Mr Wang Ying Director-General, Department of International Cooperation, Ministry of Agriculture of China..

"China has been one of the pioneering countries strongly supporting the GIAHS Initiative since its inception," addedMoujahed Achouri, Director of FAO's Land and Water Division, who participated in the ceremony.

Countries joining FAO and China in spearheading the dynamic conservation of GIAHS include Algeria, Chile, Peru, Philippines and Tunisia.

The GIAHS concept was first introduced during the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002. Its focus is on the multiple goods and services that unique heritage systems, maintained over centuries, offer, and on how to ensure their availability for future generations. The initiative now has project interventions planned or underway in 91 sites around the world.

The MoU will allow $2 million in financial support from the FAO-China SSC Trust Fund