FAO in the Islamic Republic of Iran

Qanat Irrigated Agricultural Heritage Systems of Kashan Registered as a Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System (GIAHS) by FAO

Qanat Irrigated Agricultural Heritage System of Kashan, Isfahan Province

 Rome, Italy – During the GIAHS Scientific and Steering Committee Meeting which took place on 28 and 29 April 2014 at FAO Headquarters, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations officially registered the Qanat Irrigated Agricultural Heritage System of Kashan, Isfahan Province, as a Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System (GIAHS).

Dr. Ali Kiani Rad, Deputy Director of Agricultural Planning, Economic and Rural Development Research Institute (APERDRI), Ministry of Jihad-e-Agriculture, who represented Iran together with  Mr. Mohammad Reza Haeri, Advisor to APERDRI, said that: "The initiative of Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) was initially launched by FAO in 2002 during the Sustainable Development World Summit in South Africa, which has provided a comprehensive policy making and implementation framework for understanding and dynamic conservation of the agricultural systems, qualified to be identified and registered as Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System all over the world.

Qanats have sustained food and livelihood security over millennia by providing reliable source of water to traditional family farms in most dry areas of Iran where agriculture and farming would be impossible otherwise. By making it possible for humans, plants and animals to survive in the harshest climatic conditions, Qanats have supported important biodiversity particularly ancient varieties of pomegranate, figs, pistachio, apples, apricots, and other fruits and vegetables, medicinal plants as well as many livestock breeds. Ingenious water distribution and management systems as well as social and cultural practices have allowed the development of the most ancient agricultural civilizations in Iran, Central Asia, China and elsewhere around the world. The community participatory water management schemes have brought cohesiveness, solidarity and strong sense of fraternity to the local communities. It is an efficient system that optimizes water use, providing quality water and crop diversity.