The glass hall of the València City Council has hosted the official celebration of the incorporation of the historic irrigation system at l’Horta as a GIAHS. It is a recognition that distinguishes it as a Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System (GIAHS) that FAO (United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization) made public last November.
The act, chaired by the Mayor of València, Joan Ribó, had the participation of the Regional Minister of Agriculture, Mireia Mollà; the councilor for agriculture, sustainable food and vegetable garden, Alejandro Ramón; the deputy director of international relations of the Ministry of Agriculture, Marta Cimas; the director of FAO-Spain, Enrique Yeves and the person in charge of the Chair for Citizen Earth at the Polytechnic University of Valencia, José Mª García Alvarez-Coque. Also present were representatives of the irrigation communities and the municipalities of the Valencian garden, as well as the Nobel Peace Prize winner, Edward Rubin, and representatives of other institutions and civil society.
Joan Ribó pointed out that the GIAHS distinction “is an exciting challenge and carries the great responsibility of maintaining and caring for the garden,” as an example of sustainable food production close to the city. Mireia Mollà highlighted the collective work of different agents as well as the daily efforts of the farmers who provide their local products and which have contributed to the survival of the Valencia orchard. Marta Cimas underscored the uniqueness of this fourth GIAHS recognition for Spain, because it represents the special link between agriculture and the urban landscape. Enrique Yeves, in addition to highlighting the rigor of the FAO selection system for GIAHS, has highlighted that they constitute peculiar systems that help the sustainability of the planet. José Mª Alvarez-Coque defended the implementation of a plan of action to preserve this unique system. Alejandro Ramón stressed that recognition as a GIAHS “is a shared success, a joint effort of all of us who live, enjoy and work in the garden.”
GIAHS combine agricultural biodiversity with resilient ecosystems that constitute valuable cultural heritage and often aesthetically impressive landscapes.