In cooperation with the United Nations – Food and Agriculture Organization (UN-FAO), the Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Foreign-Assisted and Special Projects Service (DENR-FASPS), represented by Mr. Rodrigo Cava, participated in the 2nd High-Level Training on Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) last September 5-20, 2015 in China.

giahs high level trainingParticipants of the GIAHS training posed for posterity.The GIAHS initiative is an international partnership which aims to identify, recognize, support and safeguard Globally Important Heritage System and culture around the world. China, a pioneer GIAHS pilot site, has led the implementation of an innovative approach to conservation of agriculture and rural development. Consistent with the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) of China and FAO on South-South Cooperation (FAO-China SSC) on GIAHS, the 2nd High Level Training on GIAHS was held.

The training consisted of introduction of the concept and framework of GIAHS along with the criteria on selecting GIAHS sites; presentation of operational guidelines used in assessing, managing and monitoring GIAHS sites; presentations of the nine (9) participating countries (resource countries), including the Philippines, to share their experiences and lessons gains in implementing GIAHS in each country; field visits to the five GIAHS sites in China; and presentation of the action plan of participating countries who had not yet submitted GIAHS site proposals for UN-FAO.

Inspired by the learning he gained from the training, Mr. Cava encouraged the DENR thru the Biodiversity Management Bureau to come-up with proposals on GIAHS/NIAHS for possible funding from the UN-FAO. He noted that countries like China, Japan and Korea appear to be progressing in implementing GIAHS and even Nationally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (NIAHS). These countries have invested a lot on research and scientific studies to re-discover their traditional agricultural systems and cultures. They have a good account/documentation of their historical events on agricultural systems that have been passed through from generations to generations. He said that looking at the criteria in selecting GIAHS/NIAHS sites, the Philippines has similar programs/projects in the country which have been harmonized in the Philippine Biodiversity Strategic Action Plan (PBSAP) 2015-2028 prepared by the Biodiversity Management Bureau. Under the PBSAP, programs/projects related to the adoption of Indigenous Knowledge, Skills and Practices (IKSP) can be considered as GIAHS/NIAHS.

A potential GIAHS site is selected on the basis of the following:

  • Food and Livelihood Security - The proposed agricultural system should contribute to the food and livelihood security of the community;
  • Agricultural Biodiversity Conservation - The local community has maintained and conserved the biodiversity transmitting it to our generation;
  • Knowledge Systems and Adaptive Technologies - Community maintained invaluable knowledge, ingenious technology and management systems of natural resources, etc;
  • Unique Cultural Value Directly Link to the Site (agri-culture) - Cultural practices directly link to agricultural system (festivities and rituals as knowledge transfer);
  • Remarkable landscapes, land and water resources management features - Landscape features resulting from human management.

In some instances, maximum benefits (economic, social, livelihood, environment), and historic and contemporary relevance are considered as well. #

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