Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS)

FAO and ISESCO Sign Partnership Agreement

Rome, Italy, 29 November 2011

Both organizations will work together on promoting education, science and culture in rural areas and facilitate dialogue among agricultural civilizations - particularly on dynamic conservation of the Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems in Islamic countries. The agreement was signed during the FAO 143rd Council Meeting , on 29 November 2011.

Dr. Abdulaziz Othman Altwaijri, Director-General of the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) and Dr. Jacques Diouf signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), a framework of partnership agreement. The MoU reflects the commitment of both organizations to promote cooperation and develop their capacities to protect agricultural heritage, promote the diversity of culture and cultural expressions, further develop their communication platform, institutional capacity and policies, and promote an exchange of activities and services in Islamic countries.

"I am grateful to ISESCO for opening an excellent relation to promote "culture and agriculture" as a important aspect for sustainable agriculture development. FAO has implemented dynamic conservation of Agricultural Heritage in some countries of Latin America, Sub Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia, in some Islamic Countries (Algeria, Iran, Morocco, Turkey, Tunisia to name a few), and with ISESCO, FAO will expand the GIAHS Initiative across Islamic Countries. Recognizing and revitalizing this Agri-Culture heritage to promote sustainable food production while sustaining ecosystem functionalities, including cultural diversity, should be the fundamental principle of actions on the ground", stated Dr Diouf.

"I am very honoured and pleased to sign an agreement with FAO to bridge culture and agriculture as an important pillar for sustainable development. Culture is a source of life, source of existence and it is an influential part of agriculture. The experience of FAO can help ISESCO to make this partnership an exemplary one. It will benefit more people for the future to strengthen the inter-relation between agriculture, culture and faith". The future is our destiny. This partnership, protecting culture and dynamic conservation of agricultural heritage of the people, is of great importance for ISESCO as well" said Dr Altwaijri as he welcomed the partnership with FAO.

This partnership agreement is also a timely response to the call of the State of the World’s Land and Water Resources (SOLAW), launched by FAO a day before the signing. The current issues of the SOLAW Report are managing systems at risk and addressing our agricultural heritage systems, also at great risk of disappearing from the face of the earth.

FAO and ISESCO have agreed to develop a milestone, roadmap for the partnership within the next 3 years.  


-News Article in FAO website (English, Arabic)