Strengthening GIAHS Partnership: The Way Forward
FAO headquarters, Rome (Italy) - To generate or reinforce the political will of governments, the Initiative should focus on demonstrating to decision-makers the value of biodiversity and ecosystem goods and services provided by GIAHS.
Such was the conclusion of the GIAHS Scientific and Steering Committee meeting, held from 29 to 30 October 2012 at FAO headquarters in Rome (Italy). Providing an arena for discussion on the way forward, the meeting was attended by 54 participants. Together, they identified priorities to further develop and sustain the interest of major stakeholders, taking stock of achievements and lessons learned.
Spanning over two full days, the discussion provided a wealth of insights emanating from project interventions at the local, national and global levels. At the national level, experts and representative from the pilot countries (China, Japan, Chile, Tunisia, Turkey and Azerbaijan) presented their experiences on implementing dynamic conservation of agricultural heritage systems.
A key success factor was the economic importance of agricultural heritage, in the form of both monetary and non-monetary values, confirming GIAHS as a sustainable rural development model. Participants agreed that new income streams such as promotion of sustainable tourism, products labelling and improved market access should be assessed on their impacts on biodiversity, land and water quality.
One of the main challenges identified for the Initiative was analysis and quantification of the systems’ resilience, and determination of key characteristics and practices that have contributed to their survival. As many previous attempts are mainly qualitative observations, quantitative assessment of the impacts would be worthwhile to provide tangible evidence for decision-makers of the benefits of a GIAHS holistic approach. For this, the scientific basis for the conservation and management of GIAHS should be strengthened through economic analysis and valuation of GIAHS goods and services. This would contribute to the assessment and monitoring of the system’s historical development, and provide a baseline indicator for the establishment of a sustainable management plan.
To further strengthen GIAHS visibility and support from governments, it was also suggested that a stronger link be created between GIAHS and Articles 8(j) and 10(c) of the CBD. One feasible option is to work towards a Protocol related to the Aichi Targets under the CBD. This instrument should function as a platform for cooperation between GIAHS and other conventions with compatible goals, and should provide clear leadership and guidance to communities on how to manage their landscapes and natural resources.
Click to download the final report together with background documents and meeting presentations.