Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS)
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations has designated the Archipelago of Chiloé as "Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System".      From left to right: Juan Sebastián Montes, Intendant, Los Lagos Region; Alan Bojanic, FAO Representative in Chile; Luis Mayol, Minister of Agriculture, Chile; and Cecilia Guineo, Chiloé farmer representative. © MINAGRI/FAO.

Chronology of Development of the GIAHS Programme


In response to the global trends that undermine family agriculture and traditional agricultural systems, during the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg, South Africa, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations launches a Global Partnership Initiative to protect and support family farming and to conserve “Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems.” 



With 16 sites designated and many more proposed in various countries within the first 10 years, GIAHS has earned international recognition and appreciation at various intergovernmental fora. In the meantime, international, regional and national conferences, seminars, training courses to enhance the capacity of member countries and to disseminate the concept of GIAHS have been carried out. 



At the 148th session of the FAO Council, members have agreed that GIAHS shall become an integral part of FAO´s framework and receive a formal status. A first Conference Resolution for anchoring GIAHS within the Organization was drafted. 



Following discussions during the 24th session of the Committee of Agriculture (COAG) in 2014 and during the 39th FAO Conference the following year, the GIAHS programme has been officially endorsed as a FAO Regular Programme in 2015.  



In order to streamline and facilitate designation processes, in 2016, GIAHS launches the Scientific Advisory Group (SAG) with the aim to provide scientific advice on the GIAHS programme and conduct designation of GIAHS sites. The SAG is elected on a rotational 2-year term.  



On 19 April 2018, during the GIAHS International Forum at FAO Headquarters, the programme designated 13 new sites in seven countries on 19 April 2018 in Rome during the international forum. In occasion of the forum, FAO organized a Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Sites exhibition. 



Looking back on 20 years of GIAHS, the programme has designated 67 agricultural heritage sites in 22 countries and receives more and more designation proposals. GIAHS has organized capacity building workshops for local farming communities, civil society organizations and Government Official. The programme promoted policies and incentives to support the dynamic conservation and potential of GIAHS and helped to implement concrete rural development actions, while promoting traditional knowledge and local cultures.