FAO Liaison Office with the Russian Federation

Preservation of world agricultural heritage: FAO response

Photo: ©FAO/Consorzio Tutela Vini Soave e Recioto di Soave
28/04/2021

 

On 27 April, the FAO Regional Office in Budapest held the 2nd Dialogue on Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) in Europe and Central Asia. Experts from the countries of the region, including Russia, discussed the problems of agri-food systems and their resilience in the face of crises, as well as the opportunities offered by obtaining the status of a GIAHS site.

The dialogue was aimed to promote the awareness-raising among countries on potential GIAHS sites in the region and develop a regional road map for the conservation of these resilient agricultural systems.

Ms Tania Santivanez and Dr Yoshihide Endo, FAO specialists, spoke about the technical regulations and the GIAHS action plan. "The key to success is a high-quality and detailed action plan," emphasized Yoshihide-san. He also gave examples of such plans and noted the importance of international cooperation and exchange of experience in this area.

Mr Dmitry Zvyagintsev, FAO Policy Officer, in the presentation "The work of FAO and recommendations for the legal and institutional areas, as well as for improving the work of producers' associations in the field of geographical indications (GI)" spoke about the practice in the field of GI in the European Union (EU). "It is necessary that the departments responsible for work in the field of GI maintain a constant dialogue, exchange of information, experience and best practices. The leading coordinating role in this dialogue is assigned to the Ministries of Agriculture," the expert noted.

From the positive experience of the EU, Mr Dmitry Zvyagintsev highlighted the establishment of interdepartmental working groups dealing with issues in the field of GI and the formation of a national policy focused on the development and promotion of local products, as well as the development of guidelines in this area for relevant departments and manufacturers themselves.

The expert also noted the certification system and stressed that a legal and institutional framework should be established for the official control of GI and certification of products with protected GI. He also pointed out the importance of awareness-raising campaigns for manufacturers and consumers about the legislation in the field of GI, as well as about new product qualities.

Mr Oleg Kobiakov, Director, FAO Liaison Office with the Russian Federation, told the participants that with the support from the FAO Moscow Office activities had begun to identify promising Russian agricultural heritage sites. "An action group has been created, uniting the representatives of the Timiryazev Agricultural Academy, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Higher School of Economics, Russian Geographical Society, Association of Indigenous Peoples. The group shall identify and study systems that meet the requirements for the inclusion into the GIAHS list, discuss them with other stakeholders, as well as regional and local authorities. Elaborated proposals shall be submitted to the head Russian agencies responsible for the collaboration with FAO: Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I am convinced that this enthusiastic start will bring meaningful results. We will provide the Group with every kind of assistance."

Professor Alexey Naumov, Head of Department, MSU Faculty of Geography, Head of Department, HSE Institute for Agrarian Studies, noted that despite its rich geographical diversity, the Russian Federation had just started to join the GIAHS programme, so it was too early to propose any nominations to this system. Professor Naumov underscored that Russia had many potential sites, giving the example of Yakutiya, the largest federative subject of Russia, where despite severe climate conditions sustainable local agricultural sites had been developing for centuries, providing the local population with food and livelihoods.

The participants also discussed the role of the GIAHS in diversifying local agricultural systems, developing agri-tourism to promote market access for local products and improving the supply chain of traditional goods in the Europe and Central Asia countries. 

To watch the webinar recording, please click here.

Bachground:

Since 2015, GIAHS has become an FAO corporate programme covering over 50 sites on all continents. 

These agricultural heritage sites are picturesque landscapes, both natural and man-made, that support agricultural biodiversity, sustainable ecosystems and valuable cultural heritage while at the same time providing food and livelihoods for millions of family farms.

The 1st Dialogue on GIAHS in Europe and Central Asia helped to find out that the region could potentially see its sites included into the GIAHS list. Until now, 7 historic agricultural systems have been recognized as GIAHS Sites.

GIAHS sites are supposed to play the key role as models adapted to the local agricultural system conditions that have evolved over time and have come to be resistant to the ever-changing social, environmental, and economic circumstances. These systems have been managed on the bases of time-proven combinations of conservational methods and practices that have stimulated the improvement of the population’s quality of life, fostering food security, responsible use of natural resources, and the conservation of biodiversity.

To learn more about the GIAHS, visit the FAO website.

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