全球重要农业文化遗产（Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems，GIAHS）是联合国粮农组织（FAO）于2002年启动的一项工作，旨在加强对传统农业生产系统以及相关的生物多样性、知识与文化体系、生态与文化景观等方面的保护。这项深具创新精神的事业在全球发展迅速，截至目前，全球21个国家的52项遗产被认定为GIAHS。
Conserving Agribultural Diversity & Promoting Cultural Exchange
Author | Department of International Cooperation, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, P.R. China
Design | Jiang Lingzhi
Production | Huang Shuocun
●It has led to a tide of agricultural heritage conservation and applications for GIAHS sites
●It has promoted exchange and mutual learning on the culture of farming between China and other countries
●It has facilitated global recognition of the value of farming culture
●It has contributed to the development of FAO's working system of the GIAHS Programme
The Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) Programme was launched by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in 2002, with the overall goal to safeguard agricultural heritage systems and their associated agricultural biodiversity, knowledge and cultural systems, as well as natural and cultural landscapes. This innovative programme has been developing rapidly at the global level, with a total of 52 sites of 21 countries have been identified as GIAHS.
In Asia, China is a country with a large agricultural sector and an ancient farming civilization. It fully appreciates and commends FAO’s concept on GIHAS. Chinese President Xi Jinping stressed that the culture of farming is a treasure for China and should be inherited for greater development. Therefore, China was the first country to respond to the GIAHS Programme in 2005, when the Rice Fish Culture System of Qingtian County in Zhejiang Province was listed among the first GIHAS pilot sites. Since then, China has become a firm supporter, important facilitator and major contributor of the Programme, with a number of successful cases in practice.
Building on a decade-long experience, China has contributed to the theory and practice of GIAHS conservation by following a principle of “conservation first, appropriate utilization, integrated conservation, coordinated development, dynamic conservation, function expansion, multi-stakeholder participation and shared benefits”. There has been steady progress made in GIHAS management, technology support, international exchanges, and communication and promotion. For example, China the first country that have established its national GIHAS network and administrative measures, and launched GIHAS monitoring and assessment. Chinese scholars published more research papers on GIHAS than scholars of any other country in the world. The Director General of FAO has commended China as a champion in GIHAS conservation on a number of occasions.
Through the GIHAS Programme, China has tapped into the wisdom of traditional agricultural practices, injected fresh vitality in agriculture, added new driving force for the development of rural areas, and enabled integrated development of primary, secondary and tertiary sectors in GIHAS sites, providing a valuable experience in rural revitalization. For China, the GIHAS Programme is not only an approach to promote agricultural sustainability, but also a pathway to achieve harmony between people and nature, promote ecological conservation and realize sustainable development.
Being a “champion”, China should set a good example by demonstrating good practices to the world. For years, China has been actively sharing its experience and practices with other countries, aiming to forge a joint commitment to the prosperity of farming cultures. In particular, South-South Cooperation (SSC) projects jointly implemented by China and FAO under the multilateral framework have effectively improved the awareness and capacity of developing partners to carry out programmes on agricultural heritage systems.
As the first country to form a strategic alliance with FAO in South-South Cooperation, China has donated a total of 80 million USD to establish a SSC trust fund, which has helped nearly 1 million smallholders from 28 countries in Africa and Asia to improve their food and nutrition security. Since the beginning of 2015, the Chinese government initiated a program funded by the SSC trust fund to support the capacity building of developing countries in managing agricultural heritage systems, with a view to enhancing the knowledge of international community of traditional farming cultures, and engaging more countries in the development, conservation and utilization of agricultural heritages.
After three years of implementation, this program has achieved remarkable progress at the international, regional and national level, making substantial contribution to the success of the GIAHS programme.
It has led to a tide of agricultural heritage conservation and applications for GIAHS sites
With the support of the capacity building programme, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of China (MARA) and FAO have jointly conducted four senior training workshops on agricultural heritage systems, which were attended by nearly 100 government officials and experts from 60 countries. Renowned experts were invited to give lectures to the training workshops and studies tours were organized to the designated GIAHS sites in China so that trainees were able to have in-depth discussions with local farmers and technicians. Satisfactory outcomes have been achieved from these training workshops.
As a result, more than 40 countries have initiated their own agenda on agricultural heritage systems and submitted applications to FAO for the designation of GIAHS sites. A number of these applications from Bangladesh, Mexico, Sri Lanka, and Egypt have already been approved by FAO and the title of Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System has been awarded to these sites. During the past two years, 90% of the countries with newly designated GIAHS sites have participated in relevant trainings in China. It is to our delight that China has become a hub for GIAHS related training and raised the awareness of the value and role of traditional farming systems among more and more countries.
It has promoted exchange and mutual learning on the culture of farming between China and other countries
The programme has supported FAO’s efforts to hold GIAHS regional workshops in Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean, Near East and North Africa, Africa and Europe. The workshops brought together hundreds of officials and technicians from over 60 countries to exchange views on farming culture, share domestic experience in identification and conservation of GIAHS sites, and discuss the challenges and prospects of GIAHS protection and management at national and regional level.
In response to the twinning initiative proposed by FAO, China has facilitated the twinning between Fuzhou Jasmine and Tea Culture System and the “Climats”, terroirs of Burgundy of France, and between Xinghua Duotian Agrosystem and the Chinampas Agricultural System of Mexico, in order to promote regional exchange and cooperation in protection and development of traditional farming culture.
It has facilitated global recognition of the value of farming culture
China has supported the convening of the International Forum on GIAHS and extensive discussion and policy coordination on GIAHS in other international forums. China’s endeavor has enabled many countries to recognize the importance of farming culture, which is exemplified by the fact that GIAHS was written into the Beijing Declaration on APEC Food Security in 2014, G20 Agriculture Ministers Meeting Communiqué in 2016, and documents of the Economic and Financial Committee of the United Nations General Assembly.
What China has done in regard of farming culture has benefited not only developing countries, but also developed countries. Spain, South Korea and Italy borrowed China’s experience and launched their own work on GIAHS. South Korea, in particular, has established the Korea Important Agricultural Heritage System and conducted academic exchanges through the East Asia Research Association for Agricultural Heritage Systems (ERAHS) initiated by China.
It has contributed to the development of FAO's working system of the GIAHS Programme
With the support of China and other related countries, the status of the GIAHS Programme has been significantly improved within the FAO. It has grown from a short-term project to a regular and priority programne of FAO, forming a key component of the organization’s strategic goals and regional initiatives.
In recent years, with the unwavering efforts from China and other related countries, GIAHS Secretariat has been enhancing its capacity and improving relevant procedures and standards:
First, China has contributed to the operation of the Secretariat by dispatching three experts successively for short-term secondment, and supported the employment of temporary international staff by the Secretariat, thus alleviating its shortage of man-power. Second, China has helped FAO in developing networks and facilitated the organization’s interaction with relevant countries and GIAHS sites through its regional offices and national representations. Third, China has assisted FAO in improving the criteria and process of GIAHS application, and supported FAO in the establishment of a monitoring and evaluation system. Fourth, China has contributed to the building of the knowledge sharing platform by supporting the upgrading of FAO’s official website for GIAHS and providing multilingual advocacy materials, thereby promoting traditional farming culture in the international community.
Thanks to the concerted efforts of China and other countries, the GIAHS programme has achieved rapid development, and the charm and value of traditional farming systems have been widely recognized. However, compared with similar programmes, such as UNESCO’s World Heritage, GIAHS is still relatively new to people and in its initial stage of identifying, preserving and developing agricultural heritage systems. The journey ahead remains long and arduous.
The report of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) proposes to strengthen the inheritance and protection of cultural heritage, facilitate modernization while ensuring the harmony between humans and nature, respect the diversity of world civilizations, and promote the building of the Community of Shared Future for Mankind. The newly created Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of China has also been given new mandates with the implementation of the rural revitalization strategy at the core of its responsibilities. China stands ready to continue to support FAO’s GIAHS Programme and strengthen exchanges with other countries in the field of farming culture to contribute to global food security and sustainable agricultural development.