The World Conference on Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) was convened in Qingtian, eastern China's Zhejiang Province in July 2022. Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a congratulatory letter to the conference.
The conference launched the Qingtian Initiative of the World Conference on Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems, which aims to build international consensus, jointly strengthen the protection of agricultural heritage, help implement the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and promote the building of a community with a shared future for humankind.
As of October 2022, the Qingtian Initiative has been recognized by 28 countries and international organizations.
The full text of the Qingtian Initiative is as follows:
Qingtian Initiative of the World Conference on Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems:
Agricultural Heritage for Rural Prosperity
The World Conference on Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) was convened in Qingtian, China from 18 to 19 July 2022 featuring the online and offline participation of more than 200 delegates from 32 countries, international organizations, the academia, the private sector and civil society organizations. We, the delegates of the World GIAHS Conference, conducted in-depth discussions centering on the theme" Agricultural Heritage for Rural Prosperity".
We acknowledge that GIAHS, the remarkable legacies of agricultural civilizations and shared treasure for the humankind, can deliver distinctive benefits and provide many services to people, including by strengthening the resilience of food systems and food security, improving smallholder livelihoods, preserving biodiversity, driving sustainable agricultural development and promoting rural prosperity.
We have noted that since the launch of the GIAHS initiative by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in 2002, 67 GIAHS sites across the globe have been designated and extensive explorations have been undertaken for the dynamic conservation and adaptive management of GIAHS. Despite such progress, agricultural heritages face grave threats resulting from rapid urbanization and industrialization. In view of the challenges, we recognize the urgency and importance to forge consensus on the identification, conservation, management and evolution of GIAHS. To this end, we call for the following actions:
First, giving priority to conservation. We highlight the need to act on the principle of prioritizing the conservation of GIAHS while pursuing sustainable resource utilization, with a view to driving ecological, economic and social progress in GIAHS sites in a sustainable manner. Parties are encouraged to safeguard GIAHS so that these shared assets of the humankind will not be lost to future generations.
Second, raising public awareness. We are committed to enhancing the visibility of GIAHS through wide-ranging activities via different channels, including through promoting sites at the international level, so as to disseminate the concept and major values of GIAHS conservation to promote understanding and awareness of GIAHS and their conservation among all actors of society.
Third, exploring diverse benefits. We recognize the importance to deepen understanding of the historical, economic, cultural, ecological and social implications of GIAHS and intensify research and extension regarding diverse benefits and services generated by GIAHS and approaches of dynamic conservation. We will work to connect the potentials of GIAHS in multiple fields including food security, climate change adaptation, biodiversity conservation and ecosystems protection, with a view to contributing to the progress towards the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.
Fourth, fostering mutual learning and cooperation. We welcome decisions to put GIAHS high on the agenda of international agricultural cooperation, which will allow countries to increase mutual exchange in this area. We encourage GIAHS sites to engage in various interaction activities with each other, such as twinning initiatives between them, and support their efforts of establishing mechanisms and platforms to facilitate regular sharing of information.
Fifth, bolstering policy support. We encourage countries to improve national governance systems for GIAHS, integrate considerations of GIAHS conservation and evolution into national policies, and put in place policy incentives and supporting mechanisms, including for local communities, for the conservation and sustainable management of GIAHS.
Sixth, focusing on smallholder livelihoods. We recognize the need to devote more energy to providing training and guidance for farmers, and create more employment and income-generating opportunities for farmers. Steps should be taken to raise the willingness and abilities of smallholders to protect GIAHS and ensure that farmers can benefit from the conservation and development of GIAHS.
Seventh, boosting contribution to rural development. We call for efforts to identify success stories of GIAHS in driving rural development, and promote beneficial practices of GIAHS for ecological conservation, cultural preservation and good social governance. Such efforts will be conducive to achieving sustainable agricultural development and rural prosperity by unleashing potentials and boosting vitality in rural areas through an inclusive approach.
Eighth, mobilizing broad participation. We encourage governments, international organizations, research institutes, the private sector, civil society organizations, local communities and other stakeholders to actively participate in and mobilize resource (including funding, technology and human capital) for GIAHS conservation and management. We emphasize the importance of FAO’s role to support and engage different stakeholders, establish win-win partnerships, and ensure inclusiveness in GIAHS conservation and management.