Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS)

FAO – GIAHS Programme & ICOMOS share experiences and lessons learned on how to identify and support world heritage

11 June 2021

The Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) Secretariat is pleased to share the newly issued Connecting Practice Report issued by the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

As part of this study, two World Heritage & Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems located in China and United Arab Emirates were included to explore, learn about, and create new methods of recognition and support for the natural, cultural and social values of highly significant land and seascapes and affiliated biocultural practices. 

Representatives of the GIAHS Secretariat participated in the two workshops and GIAHS experts were part of the field visits to GIAHS sites, thereby contributing to designing project activities and building its outcomes.

The selection of the sites focused on World Heritage properties exhibiting strong human and nature interactions for subsistence purposes and the existence of other international designations. The sites included in the research are: two World Heritage properties with partially overlapping GIAHS designations:

Discover more on the conclusions of the report here.

Joining efforts

ICOMOS and FAO- GIAHS Programme have a similar focus and its partnership is based on two reasons. Firstly, the programme is based on the designation of agricultural systems which have heritage values as can be observed in various instances with World Heritage designations, thereby offering space for joint approaches. Secondly, the focus of GIAHS shares similarities with the objectives of the World Heritage Convention. This common nature of both programmes is more demonstrated particularly by the GIAHS programme’s emphasis on its contribution to sustainable development and food security, their rich biodiversity and genetic resources, the role played in their sustenance by local and traditional knowledge systems and management practices, the sense of place generated by cultural identity and, finally, enhancement of welfare development of rural communities. 

By facilitating a broader discussion and collaboration among IUCN, ICOMOS and a range of partners, the Connecting Practice Project aims to raise awareness, not only regarding the close interrelations of the natural and cultural dimensions of heritage places, but also that effective and lasting conservation of such places depends on a more holistic approach and better integration of philosophies and procedures regarding their protection and management. 


ICOMOS works for the conservation and protection of cultural heritage places. It is the only global non-government organisation of this kind. The members of ICOMOS contribute to improving the preservation of heritage, the standards and the techniques for each type of cultural heritage property: buildings, historic cities, cultural landscapes and archaeological sites.

FAO’s Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) Programme helps identify ways to mitigate threats faced by farmers and enhance the benefits derived from these systems.

Vital to achieving food and livelihood security, 62 sites in 22 countries have now been officially recognized as Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS), dynamic spaces where culture, biodiversity and sustainable agricultural techniques coexist.

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