GIAHS Capacity Building successful cases
Ever Alexis Martinez Aguilar
The Master in Agricultural Heritage System was one of the most valuable experiences of my life, with the lectures with world-class experts and the subsequent thesis work, this opened my horizons to a new form of research, that I am currently implementing in my work as professor and researcher in the Department of Animal Science of the University of El Salvador, where I am trying to identify more systems and techniques of agricultural heritage, ecological, sustainable agriculture and in danger of disappearing.
My experience during the master was inspiring; to be in contact with people from all over the world, from different disciplines and realities but with the same interest makes me believe that an alternative future is possible. The discussions related with heritage, agriculture, landscape and what really is the development we want during the lessons and after, at home or in a bar with the colleagues, make me rethink my role in society and the tremendous value of the traditional knowledge that creates the complex agricultural systems in my country. Nowadays, I am trying to promote the study and awareness of those systems in Bolivia from the research and the exchange of experience and ideas with territorial actors that work everyday to pursue a more sustainable future.
Choosing a career path was not an easy decision. Personally, destiny has led my way to agriculture and day after day this has turned into passion and my yearning for learning has grown. I believe that my home roots played an important role in being intrigued by the GIAHS program. A worthy experience that highlighted the need and importance of the dynamic conservation of ingenious agricultural systems. I vividly recall the memory of the day I visited the SOAVE traditional vineyards and how amazed I was by its historical importance. Naturally, I find myself pursuing a PhD in the efficient and sustainable water resources management in viticulture.
I was student in the 1st edition of the master course. The master course was a shuttle for me to end up working where I am now. I'm currently working at FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia, supporting the promotion of GIAHS in the region, with special focus on Central Asia where we could witness soon the first GIAHS candidacies of this territory. I really believe in the Agricultural Heritage Systems and their capacity to provide the keys for the resilient and sustainable agriculture that our time demands.
In the rural areas of Latin America, and especially in my country: Peru. It is impossible to talk about rural development without considering the agricultural sphere since it is the main activity of rural families. For many years, the actions have only focused on improving agriculture's productivity without thinking that it is part of a system. The course ``Agricultural Heritage Systems`` has allowed me to approach the agricultural aspect understanding it as a system that interacts with culture, landscape, and biodiversity. And this is fundamental for my current work. I work as a GIAHS consultant for the Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Agriculture, and the FAO Lima Office, in charge of designing the first action plan for the dynamic conservation of the GIAHS ``Andean Agriculture System, Peru.`` I seek to articulate different agricultural system sectors under the GIAHS approach to contribute to sustainable rural development from this position.
With a background in international relations, the Master gave me the opportunity to deepen, from an academic point of view, topics that have always fascinated me thus acquiring new knowledge through a practical perspective and meeting people from all over the world. Thanks to the Master, I am currently working as a Junior Specialist at the GIAHS Secretariat of FAO where I am in charge of promoting the Programme through the organization of workshops and the creation of partnerships and providing guidance to stakeholders interested in applying to the Programme.