ROME, SEPTEMBER 19TH – In Rome an alliance is born between Countries committed to defending the mediterranean diet. “I am happy to announce that the Countries of the mediterranean diet at Unesco -Cyprus, Croatia, Greece, Marocco, Portugal, Spain and other mediterranean Countries, Jordan, Lebanon, Tunisia, San Marino and recently even Egypt- have decided to join our alliance for the principles of the mediterranean diet. It’s an open alliance, and we hope that further Countries will find themselves too agree with the principles of the journey that today we are starting.” These the words of the Italian Secretary General of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Elisabetta Belloni, which made her appearance at Fao for the event ‘More than 2000 years of Mediterranean diet: a Journey from Ancient Romans to the UNESCO recognition in 2010. The cultural dimension of food’.
According to the director of Fao, Qu Dondyu, it is imperative to defend the mediterranea diet from the modern culture of fast foods. The mediterranean diet “promotes local food production”, encourages “a sustainable agriculture, safeguards the landscape and has a low environmental impact”. However, this diet is being threatened by “fast food solutions”, born from the modern nutritional norms. For this reason it is necessary to “make efforts and take action” said Qu, in defense of traditional nutrition habits. He refers to these habits as “fundamental pillars in our cultural heritage”.
During the event Italy presented the project “Mediterranean Diet’s principles for Agenda 2030”, which will be articulated through a series of days dedicated to studying, reflecting and deepening scientific knowledge regarding the mediterranean diet.
The alliance “aims to share a life-style and food culture scientifically proven to be beneficial for bodily health and socio-economic wealth. It aims to promote those products that Italy and other Mediterranean Countries can produce and export,” said Belloni. “Within the framework of the SDGs, in the following days we will demonstrate the benefits which the mediterranean diet -and other diets rooted in the same principles, in the respect of ethnic, cultural, religious, economic and agricultural differences- can have for the planet, biodiversity, the economy and women”.
The theme of the mediterranea diet is of “extreme importance for the Italian government, and I am confident that today’s discussion will inspire rich initiatives for Fao and its member countries,” explained the Secretary General of the Minister of Foreign Affairs. With today’s event “we are determined to demonstrate the scientific strength of the mediterranean diet as a model for sustainable agricultural and nutritional development, a model with the capacity to positively contribute to the 2030 Agenda,” declared Belloni.
Today’s initiative, hosted at Fao, intends to promote and educate about the principles of the mediterranean diet, shedding light on the historical and cultural uniqueness of this nutritional style and agricultural production. The mediterranean diet has survived millennia to arrive to us. Indeed, for over 2000 years the Mediterranean Diet has represented a unique pool of knowledge, symbols, rituals and traditions ranging from the field of agriculture, to fishing, livestock breeding, food processing and cooking, also including the food sharing practices common to many peoples of the Mediterranean Basin. Thanks to its cultural value, the Mediterranean Diet was recognized to be ‘intangible human heritage’ by UNESCO in 2010″.
The series of events organized by Italy aims to valorize the benefits which the mediterranean diet has towards health, the environment and its resources and communal well-being. The principles of the mediterranean diet are indeed founded upon the pillars of sustainable development and a healthy life-style. As observed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs on an online note, these pillars can be promoted outside of the boundaries of the Mediterranean, in other local and regional contexts.