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Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems

A legacy for the future








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    Project
    Siwa Oasis, Egypt. Proposal for Declaration as a Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System (GIAHS)
    Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS)
    2016
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    This document proposes to recognize and designate Siwa oasis in the northwestern Desert of Egypt as a Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Site (GIAHS) under the respective FAO program. Siwa is a globally significant in situ repository of plant genetic resources, especially of uniquely adapted varieties of date palm, olive and secondary crops that are highly esteemed for their quality and continue to play a significant role in rural livelihoods, both for nutrition and income. Situated in a r emote region of the Sahara, and surrounded by breathtaking desert landscapes, Siwa oasis is distinguished by a range of archaeological treasures that testify to the long history of the oasis at the crossroads of ancient trade routes, going back to Pharaonic and Ptolemaic epochs. Its long isolation from outside influences, a population tracing its origin to Berber civilization and speaking an indigenous language, and environmental constraints have given Siwa a unique local culture embodied by its mud-salt brick architecture, peculiar social institutions and a rich heritage of handicrafts. Challenges to oasis agriculture, biodiversity and cultural identity are currently effectively addressed by a number of national and local initiatives, including sustainable agricultural practices, improved irrigation management, the protection of wildlife in and around the oasis as well as sustainable tourism.
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    Project
    Kuttanad Below Sea Level Farming System (The only system in India that has been practicing rice cultivation below sea level since the past 2 centuries). A Candidate System for Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) Programme, FAO, Rome
    Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS)
    2016
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    Kuanad Below Sea-level Farming System (KBSFS) is unique, as it is the only system in India that pracces rice culvaon below sea level. The major land use structure of KBSFS is flat stretches of rice fields in about 50,000 ha, of mostly reclaimed delta swamps. They exist in three landscape elements: Karapadam (upland rice fields), Kayal (wetland rice fields) and Kari (land buried with black coal like materials). The rice fields are popularly known as “Puncha Vayals”. Tradionally KBSFS favour ed only one crop of paddy followed with inland and es-tuarine fish wealth, notably the endemic prawn species, pearl spot and clams. The Puncha Vayals with coconut gardens on the bunds and crisscrossed water canals offer an amazing sight. Farmers of Kuanad developed and mastered the spectacular technique of below sea level culvaon, which has several similaries with the Dutch polder system, over 150 year ago. They made this system unique as it contributes remarkably well to the conservaon of biodiversity and ecosystem services including several livelihood services. The recognion of KBSFS as a Globally Important Agriculture Heritage System will insll pride in the farm families of this area and will lead to the conservaon of this unique below sea level rice-fish farming system. The conservaon and refinement of KBSFS is parcularly important in this era of global warming, leading to a rise in sea level. Island States like Maldives as well as countries like Bangladesh are deep ly interested in replicang the Kuanad system.
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    Meeting
    The 4th High Level Training and Experience Sharing on Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) under the Framework of South-South Cooperation (SCC)
    Beijing, China. 11 – 24 September, 2017
    2017
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    The Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) Initiative was launched in 2002 to identify, support and safeguard remarkable agricultural, forestry and fisheries production system, with their livelihoods, agrobiodiversity, landscapes, knowledge systems and cultures around the world.

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