Xi: Safeguard rural heritage of the world
President makes call in congratulatory message to international conference
President Xi Jinping underlined on Monday the importance of protecting agricultural heritage systems, saying that China is ready to work with the international community in contributing to the realization of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Xi made the remarks in a congratulatory message delivered to the World Conference on Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems, which opened in Qingtian county, Zhejiang province.
Xi said in the message that mankind has created a splendid agricultural and farming culture in its long history, and protecting agricultural heritage is a shared responsibility of humanity.
China has actively responded to the Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems initiative proposed by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, and constantly advances the efforts in agricultural heritage protection by exploring, using and passing on its value, he said.
The nation will work along with the international community to jointly enhance agricultural heritage protection, and further explore its economic, social, cultural, ecological and scientific and technological value in order to help secure the UN's sustainable development goals and advance the building of a community with a shared future for mankind, Xi added.
In recent years, rapid urbanization, deteriorating ecological conditions and increasing climate risks have posed grave threats to agricultural systems. To protect the heritage of humanity, the FAO launched an initiative in 2002 to pass on the legacy of sustainability and call global attention to the diverse benefits of agricultural systems, which combine agricultural biodiversity, resilient systems, farming skills and valuable cultural heritage.
The FAO's worldwide agricultural heritage network now consists of 65 systems in 22 countries around the globe. A total of 18 sites in China have so far been added to the global agricultural heritage systems list.
In remarks published on the FAO's website, Maria Helena Semedo, the organization's deputy director-general, said that the initiative "has proven its potential as a model of sustainable agriculture through its remarkable agro-ecological approach.
"It is a way to revitalize rural communities and promote rural development by utilizing their unique features embedded in the agricultural systems."
Speaking at the conference, Tang Renjian, China's minister of agriculture and rural affairs, called for united action from countries around the world in strengthening agricultural heritage protection.
He underlined the need to improve cooperation mechanisms, and called for promoting exchanges and mutual learning among various agricultural civilizations for common development under the framework of the China-proposed Global Development Initiative.
To improve capacity building, Tang said that China and the FAO will jointly launch a $3 million program to provide 1,000 managers in the field of agricultural heritage protection with training sessions.
Marcos Montes Cordeiro, Brazil's minister of agriculture, livestock and food supply, hailed the positive role of the initiative over the past two decades, saying that it has played an important role in advancing the sustainable development of agriculture, and also made contributions to improving people's lives and promoting rural prosperity.