2023 IFLA Europe Award to GIAHS: Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems UN FAO

2023 IFLA Europe Award to GIAHS: Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems UN FAO

We are delighted to inform you that the laureate of 2023 IFLA Europe Award is GIAHS - Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation! Endo Yoshihide, GIAHS Coordinator at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) received it on behalf of the UN FAO GIAHS Secretariat.

The IFLA Europe Award was introduced in 2014 IFLA Europe General Assembly with the objective to recognise the work of exceptional people and organisations that believe that our way of perceiving and understanding the world – derived from our profession – could contribute to its sustainable development.

We are facing the shrinking of farmland and green spaces in competition for land, and the main problem in rural areas is the abandonment of traditional cultivation and intensification of agriculture. Rural Landscapes are an expression of human biodiversity linked to a wider concept of biodiversity. Landscape resilience is key to maintaining biodiversity and as such IFLA EUROPE believes on dynamic conservation strategies which allow biodiversity and essential ecosystem services to be maintained thanks to continuous innovation, transfer between generations and exchange with other communities and ecosystems.

We acknowledge the hard work of FAO through GIAHS as a Global Partnership Initiative on conservation and adaptive management, in Europe, to promote and create awareness about the natural landscapes but also agricultural practices that create livelihoods in rural areas while combining biodiversity, resilient ecosystems and tradition and innovation in a unique way. The wealth and breadth of accumulated knowledge and experience in the management and use of resources is a globally significant treasure that needs to be promoted and conserved and, at the same time, allowed to evolve. We believe that dynamic conservation strategies and processes could transform a current weakness into an opportunity to promote landscapes and communities through economic viability. We are recognizing the value of GHIAS for economic
viability of the system, the identification of environmentally sustainable strategies in the face of growing climate change, and the empowerment of small holder/traditional family farming and indigenous communities.

The Secretariat’s commitment to promoting the recognition of GIAHS in Europe in recent years has been recognized and supported by the activities in support of the Italian Association of Landscape Architecture (AIAPP) and by the Agricultural Landscapes Working Group of IFLA Europe.

As Landscape Architects, we establish a strong narrative with public and private stakeholders, to reconnect them with their landscape identity and geographical characteristics. Together, we can promote in Europe, ecologically based landscape planning by agroecosystems and using regenerative agriculture management and supporting small holders and family farming. We can “make landscape” while seeking an agricultural performance. IFLA EUROPE and its members realise fully the importance of your work and share FAO-GIAHS vision! We can all help acknowledge, enhance, protect, and manage these heritage landscapes, via a holistic approach of management including all possible stakeholders. We believe that Landscape Architects should play an important role in this process and provide you with their expertise on multiple issues that are important for fighting climate changes.

We therefore felt that we can find no better repository of our IFLA EUROPE 2023 AWARD than GIAHS program for Europe.

The handover ceremony took place during IFLA Europe General Assembly 13 October 2023 in Naples, Italy on theme ‘Lost Landscapes’. The ‘Lost Landscapes’ Conference, organised and hosted by AIAPP Italy, aimed to activate a discussion table in which points of views, lines of research, and practices of landscape architecture can confront and address the issues of rapid transformation of European landscapes, which occur improperly - despite their constitutive rules, in a homogenizing manner, causing inconsistent rips and scars - so that they lose their recognizability. Opening a reflection on how landscapes change or become something else by cutting the thread that binds them to their origin, letting go of something, losing characters and meanings and sometimes acquiring new ones, entails the necessary consideration of landscape architecture as the attitude of design most capable of interpreting the conditions of the ‘contemporary habitat’.

Presentation of GIAHS made by Endo Yoshihide.

Endo Yoshihide is GIAHS Coordinator since 2015. Japanese national, he holds a Master of Agricultural Economics from Kyoto University and Master of Economics at University of Toronto.

Professional Career: 1984-2018:
Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan (main pots~Officer in
charge of OECD, the Alternate Permanent Representative of Japan to FAO (Embassy
of Japan in Rome), Seconded officer to the Codex Alimentarius Commission,
Director for International Agricultural Organizations)

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