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What are Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems? GIAHS

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    Project
    Developing Sustainable and Inclusive Agrifood Systems in the Northwest Region of Azerbaijan - GCP/AZE/014/EC 2023
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    The northwest region of Azerbaijan lends itself to agroand food tourism thanks to its cuisine, which has been recognized for its long and unique history. This type of tourism has the potential to create jobs and generate income for rural producers on the region, who have knowledge of local ingredients, recipes and products, but lack the communication mechanisms, producer buyer networks, management skills, food safety knowledge and access to markets and financing that are required to start and run a business. This project aimed to assist small and medium-scale farmers and producers in the Balakan, Gakhand Zagatalarayons in overcoming these challenges by: (i) introducing the concept of Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) and Geographical Indications (GIs); (ii) establishing inclusive and efficient agrifood systems for six selected products (honey and other beekeeping products, dried meat, food products made of or containing hazelnuts, dried persimmon, persimmon molasses, and jams, including walnut jam); (iii) strengthening producer-buyer linkages and promoting agroand food tourism in the region; and (iv) establishing and piloting a community-driven system for agricultural advisory services (AAS).
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    Brochure, flyer, fact-sheet
    Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS). Combining agricultural biodiversity, resilient ecosystems, traditional farming practices and cultural identity 2018
    For centuries, farmers, herders, fishers and foresters have developed diverse and locally adapted agricultural systems managed with time tested, ingenious techniques. These practices have resulted in a vital combination of social, cultural, ecological and economic services to humankind. “Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems” (GIAHS) are outstanding landscapes of aesthetic beauty that combine agricultural biodiversity, resilient ecosystems and a valuable cultural heritage. Located in specific sites around the world, they sustainably provide multiple goods and services, food and livelihood security for millions of small-scale farmers. Through a remarkable process of coevolution of humankind and nature, such sites have emerged over centuries of cultural and biological interactions and synergies, representing the accumulated experiences of rural people. Unfortunately, these agricultural systems are threatened by many factors including climate change and increased competition for natural resources. They are also dealing with migration due to low economic viability, which has resulted in traditional farming practices being abandoned and endemic species and breeds being lost. In recognition of these global threats to family farming and traditional agricultural systems, 16 years ago FAO launched the GIAHS Programme. Aiming to strike a balance between conservation, sustainable adaptation and socioeconomic development, the GIAHS Programme helps identify ways to mitigate the threats faced from farmers as well as enhance the benefits derived by these systems. Through multi-stakeholder support, this approach aims to: provide technical assistance; boost understanding of the value of keeping alive sustainable agricultural knowledge; and promote agricultural products, agro-tourism and other incentive mechanisms and market opportunities. There are currently 50 GIAHS-designated sites in 20 countries around the world, with potentially many more to follow.
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    Proceedings of the Second Dialogue on Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) for Europe and Central Asia 2023
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    The Second Dialogue on Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) in Europe and Central Asia aimed to promote the GIAHS Programme in the region, raising awareness on the potentiality of participating in the dynamic conservation of these sites. Speakers from all around the region discussed about traditional agricultural systems, bringing the experience of existing sites at different stages of recognition and potential ones that are still in the process of identification. The post-pandemic's prediction led the virtual meeting the opportunity to talk about resilience and vulnerability of these sites both to climate change and economic crises. Experts discussed about the importance and the ways of achieving economic diversification of local agricultural practices, the creation of a sustainable agrotourism network and the promotion of market access for the agricultural local products. During the Dialogue, representatives had the chance to discuss about their sites’ priorities and the challenges faced by member countries in the region: one of the most important objectives of this meeting was to outline the new Regional Strategy for the Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) in Europe and Central Asia for 2021-2025.

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