Q1. What are GIAHS and J-NIAHS?

A1. GIAHS stands for Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems. The program was launched in 2002 by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations to provide a framework of designation for regions around the world endowed with important agricultural methods, biodiversity, and more, as a way of actively recognizing, maintaining, and revitalizing diverse agricultural systems and passing them on to future generations

J-NIAHS, which stands for Japanese Nationally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems, is an initiative established by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries as a Japanese version of GIAHS. In the first batch of designations in 2016, the Kyoto region was among those selected. In addition to the five GIAHS criteria, J-NIAHS has three selection criteria of its own: (1) resilience to change, (2) participation of various entities, and (3) promotion of “sixth-order” industries.

Q2. What is the goal of these systems?

A2. With the overall goal of safeguarding globally important agricultural land use, landscapes, and biodiversity, GIAHS/J-NIAHS aim to leverage the long-established agricultural practices and traditional/cultural resources of the region while promoting biodiversity conservation and sustainable use of biological resources.

Q3. How does this differ from the UNESCO World Heritage Sites?

A3. While the UNESCO World Heritage Sites include ancient ruins/monuments, buildings, and natural phenomena, GIAHS sites focus on agricultural activities that are still practiced today, and the biological resources and biodiversity that provide a foundation for these activities. The idea of transmitting heritage to future generations is the same for both systems.

Q4. Why was the Fruit Farming System in the Kyoto Region recognized?

A4. The Kyoto region was recognized for its long-standing tradition of deciduous fruit production, in which the best crops are selected for each location, including grapes, peaches, and persimmons, to adapt to the topographic and natural conditions of the alluvial fan on which the region is located. With as many as 300 varieties of genetic resources, including the Koshu grape, Japan’s oldest grape variety, this diverse, high-quality fruit cultivation system has helped secure stable livelihoods for small-scale farmers and increase the resilience of fruit farming. The region is also home to processed products, such as wine and “korogaki” dried persimmons, which were derived from the wisdom and efforts of ancestors as a means of securing stable livelihoods for farmers and stabilizing the local economy, and these were highly acclaimed and recognized as wonderful assets to be transmitted to future generations as part of Japan’s agricultural heritage.

Q5. What are the local benefits of designation?

A5. Designation as a GIAHS and J-NIAHS site will further bolster the sense of pride in the region among local residents. Moreover, it is expected that further raising the profile of the Kyoto region, both in Japan and overseas, will help promote tourism and agriculture and contribute greatly to boosting the region’s appeal through the branding of agricultural products and processed foods.

Q6. Does the region have any responsibilities to fulfil after designation?

A6. Although agricultural production activities are not directly subject to regulations or restrictions as a result of the designation, it is important that the core agricultural system is safeguarded going forward. Therefore, we intend to promote projects based on a conservation plan.

Q7. What should we do if we want to use the logo?

A7. Please refer to the“About the Logo”section of this website.