“Vine-clad hill of Soave”, the first rural landscape of historical interest in Italy, was presented as a candidate at the first international workshop for GIAHS, a globally important agricultural heritage system dedicated to Europe and Central Asia, Designed by FAO.
Press Release No. 20/2017 from the Consorzio per la tutela vini Soave e Recioto di Soave
Soave, Verona, Italy – Soave submits its candidacy to enter the GIAHS (Global Important Agricultural Heritage System) program, an initiative launched by FAO in 2002 and signed by Italy in 2016, which aims to identify and protect those historic agricultural systems particularly rich in biodiversity, practicing sustainable farming demonstrate Italian know how and produce typical food products. “The vine-clad hills of Soave”, is already in the National Register of Rural Landscapes of Historic Interest, and was the subject of analysis during the first workshop dedicated to Europe and Central Asia recently held at FAO in Rome.
Viviana Ferrario, professor at IUAV in Venice, presented the entire body of research which led Soave to become Italy’s first officially recognised “rural landscape of historic interest” and which is a prerequisite to qualify for the GIAHS program.
The GIAHS program, founded by FAO, aims to identify biodiversity-rich landscapes around the world, that came about through the work of generations of farming communities and their outstanding capability to adapt to environmental challenges and to ably manage with available local resources. As the world faces increasing challenges to guarantee sustainable food supplies and rural economies, the GIAHS program not only serves to safeguard these historically important areas, but also to create a world exchange of generations of knowledge and experience that can further strengthen the strategies and techniques of dynamic conservation that can both directly and indirectly benefit rural communities.
The GIAHS initiative was created in 2002 and for fifteen years remained a research project. Only the recent success of this program, with more than thirty sites enrolled, convinced the FAO that it was worth it to elevate it to a world program status and to present it outside Asia and South America where it has been developed to date. Unlike the UNESCO World Heritage List, where the agricultural systems and landscapes are not mentioned but simply included in the general definition of “cultural landscape”, the GIAHS program is specifically designed to safeguard the social, cultural, economic and environmental goods and services that these rural lands provide to farming families, and local communities. The programme fosters an integrated approach, combining sustainable agriculture and rural development.
The Italian Government signed an agreement with FAO in autumn 2016 to co-operate with this program. The National Register of Rural Landscapes of Historic Interest, established by the Ministry of Agriculture, is the gateway to the FAO heritage.
Arturo Stocchetti, President of the Soave Consortium explains, “The admission to the GIAHS program represents another milestone in the years of ongoing work that initially led to the prized recognition of Soave, as Italy’s first rural area of historic interest. At this time there are no sites in Italy that have obtained recognition by GIAHS, so it would truly be an honor to be the first to conquer the title. ”
In addition to meeting stringent environmental sustainability requirements and the certification of landscape conservation, entry into this program could open up important international funding for predominantly agricultural communities that are committed to producing goods and services that respect the native biodiversity and historic landscape.