June 14, 2024

The Ifugao State University (IFSU) will hold a four-day program featuring local and international researchers, policymakers, and knowledge holders from the communities to discuss the current state of the Ifugao Rice Terraces (IRT).
The summit will be held via Zoom will be streamed on Facebook on March 18, 22, 25, and 29.
The indigenous peoples of Ifugao rely on the IRT for food, and income. It is also a part of its rich cultural heritage.
However, the IRT is threatened with loss of indigenous flora and fauna, watershed destruction, unregulated land-use conversion, reduced farm labor due to massive outmigration, abandonment and shift of economic activities, unchecked tourism activities, and the loss of interest in culture and rice terracing by the younger generation. These crises placed the IRT on the World’s Heritage Endangered List in 2001.
Apart from the need to protect these to sustain the lives of the Ifugaos, the IRT, as designated Unesco World Cultural Heritage and Food and Agriculture Organization-Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (FAO-GIAHS) site needs to be conserved given its relevance to the world’s biodiversity and food security.
With the theme, “Understanding and envisioning the state of the Ifugao rice terraces,” the summit aims to hatch out agreeable and scientific information as the basis for political/legislative and societal measures for the conservation of the IRT.
The summit will gather analyses of the current trends and conditions of biodiversity, ecosystem services, and human well-being since 50 plus years back while proposing interventions.
Four thematic sessions are designated in different schedules during the summit to discuss the following key features of the IRT: Current conditions and trends of the IRT, drivers of change in the biodiversity and ecosystem services of the IRT landscape, responses to the changes of the IRT landscape, and future of the Ifugao rice terraces under plausible scenarios.
The summit will be spearheaded by the IFSU Research and Development Center for GIAHS with support from Secretariat of the International Partnership for the Satoyama Initiative.
Paper presentors and speakers will come from United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability, Institute for Global Environmental Strategies Kanazawa University, United Nations FAO-GIAHS, University of California Los Angeles-Department of Southeast Asian Studies, World Agricultural Heritage Foundation, Ifugao Satoyama Meister Training Program, University of the Philippines Open University in Los Baňos, Provincial Government of Ifugao, local government units of Banaue, Hungduan, Kiangan, and Mayoyao. – Faith B. Napudo