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Globally important agricultural heritage systems: an examination of their context in existing multilateral instruments dealing with conservation and land tenure

journal contribution
posted on 2023-06-08, 15:03 authored by Stuart R Harrop
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (UN FAO) is examining mechanisms to protect the diversity of traditional agricultural systems operating around the world. The project is entitled GIAHS—Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems. This article, being the first of two dealing with GIAHS, is based on a report written by the author for the UN FAO in August 2005.2 It analyzes the international legal and policy matrix to assess the level of existing support for GIAHS and to ascertain the gaps in that support. This article focuses on conservation and land tenure and the second will examine intellectual property rights, trade issues, and potential mechanisms to secure the persistence of GIAHS. The approach taken is to deal with particularly relevant aspects of the international regulatory regime rather than to iterate comprehensive details that might, perforce, encompass considerable quantities of text concerned with marginally relevant instruments. Further, there are a number of soft instruments that are not mentioned or dealt with in any detail herein but which support the concept of GIAHS. These are not ignored through lack of value; rather, they have given rise to other expressions of their principles in subsequent instruments, which are dealt with herein. An example of this is the World Charter for Nature,3 which contains text supportive of the concept of GIAHS and which has acted as the foundation for development of an enlightened international approach to the human relationship with the natural world. There are also many instruments functioning at the regional level that are beyond the scope of this analysis.4 For the present, it is appropriate to indicate that regional law and policy will be relevant in context-specific cases as GIAHS sites are established and prior analysis of regional and national laws and policies will be required in each case.


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  • Published


Journal of International Wildlife Law and Policy









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