The Noto Peninsula in Ishikawa Prefecture and Sado Island in Niigata Prefecture were the first two Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) to be designated in a developed setting in 2011. To celebrate the 10th anniversary of this designation, the United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability Ishikawa Kanazawa Operating Unit (UNU-IAS OUIK), together with Ishikawa Prefecture, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and the Noto Regional Association for GIAHS Promotion and Cooperation, organised the International Conference on GIAHS 2021 in Nanao City, Ishikawa Prefecture. As a side event of the conference, UNU-IAS OUIK organised the GIAHS Youth Summit: GIAHS for the Future and the World – Connecting from Sado and Noto, held on November 26.
GIAHS is an initiative established by the FAO in 2002 with the aim of protecting and passing on to future generations the traditional agriculture, farming methods, land use and culture, nature and biodiversity of the land that have been cultivated for food supply and economic livelihood for generations, for hundreds of years in many of the sites.
The three-day conference featured keynote speeches by many reputable speakers, including Mr. Masanori Tanimoto, the governor of Ishikawa Prefecture, as well as high-level sessions and a variety of breakout sessions where representatives of GIAHS regions, policymakers and researchers from Japan and overseas discussed global issues, such as the impact of climate change on GIAHS, biodiversity conservation of GIAHS, and social programs required to conserve GIAHS. The conference also explored ways in which agricultural heritage systems can deepen links across sites and work together to address common challenges.
On the first day of the conference, Dr. Tsunao Watanabe (UNU-IAS OUIK) moderated Parallel Session 2 (Society) on the theme “Securing and Training People for the Dynamic Conservation of GIAHS.” Panellists included Mr. Naoyuki Kaneda (Noto Regional Association for GIAHS Promotion and Cooperation), Mr. Yosuke Mugishima (Amidaga Falls Tourism Co. Ltd), Dr. Hiroaki Hayashi (Kunisaki Peninsula Usa GIAHS Promotion Association), Ms. Eulalie D. Dulnuan (Ifugao State University in the Philippines), Mr. Pietro Clarici (Azienda Agraria Clarici), and Mr. Yoon-ho Park (Korea Rural Community Corporation & Korea Rural Heritage Association). The commentator was Dr. Koji Nakamura (Kanazawa University). The speakers introduced the human resource development and conservation activities in each GIAHS region and exchanged opinions. Dr. Evonne Yiu (UNU-IAS OUIK) highlighted the importance of M&E in conserving GIAHS and cooperation among GIAHS domestically and internationally in order to strengthen and scale GIAHS conservation efforts.
At the closing session on the second day of the conference, the Noto Communiqué 2021 was adopted. The communiqué cited the following commitments:
(1) Sharing the results of activities and information with domestic and international agricultural stakeholders and agricultural policymakers
(2) Harmonization with the ecosystem and environment of the certified area
(3) Creation of new economic activities using local resources.
Contribution to global issues such as climate change and biodiversity, and to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
5) Support for candidate regions in developing countries
(v) Supporting candidate regions in developing countries.
The closing session also included the GIAHS Youth Declaration, composed and presented by high school students representing the GIAHS sites in Ishikawa, Miyazaki, and Niigata prefectures. The declaration was developed by the students through a facilitated workshop and discussions during the GIAHS Youth Summit, a side even held by UNU-IAS OUIK on the same day.
Mr. Masanori Tanimoto (Governor of Ishikawa Prefecture), Mr. Tadayuki Akamatsu (Councillor (Deputy Director-General, Rural Development Bureau) MAFF), Mr. Yoshihide Endo (GIAHS Secretariat, FAO) and Dr. Tsunao Watanabe (Director, UNU-IAS OUIK) expression of gratitude to all participants and stakeholders for their meaningful engagement, and formally closed the conference with a reminder that the conference is many of the milestones that will lead to achieving aspirations we collectively share for the future of GIAHS.
Please also check the posters we presented during the conference here: