The Municipality of Pollica, on Behalf of Italy, Will Lead the UNESCO Network of Mediterranean Diet Emblematic Communities in 2022

The program includes promotional events organized with the Future Food Institute at the Italian Pavilion in Brussels, the Expo 2020 Dubai Italian Pavilion, and at the Paideia Campus in Pollica, Italy.

The Municipality of Pollica, on Behalf of Italy, Will Lead the UNESCO Network of Mediterranean Diet Emblematic Communities in 2022

Italy, through the Municipality of Pollica, will lead the coordination of the UNESCO Mediterranean Diet Emblematic Communities in 2022. The decision was voted unanimously and was announced on December 22 at the eleventh intergovernmental meeting of the Network held under the coordination of the Emblematic Community of Koroni (Greece). This is a crucial opportunity for Italy to strengthen its leadership in the diffusion of the Mediterranean lifestyle and in building relationships and exchanges between the communities representing the Mediterranean Diet and the rest of the international community.

The awareness that the Mediterranean Diet is a wealth of science, traditional knowledge, skills, and identity values that originate from a territory, and not just a food model, is now well established among experts in the food sector. The coordination of the Network will allow Italy to express its full potential in social, economic, and environmental terms, with further and constant cultural actions, promotion, dissemination and research at the international level.

To this end, the Municipality of Pollica, in collaboration with the Future Food Institute, will implement a rich calendar of training programs for Italian schools and events in 2022 to enhance the Mediterranean Diet heritage in Italy, and worldwide. In particular:

EXPO DUBAI Intergovernmental Meeting: the event, scheduled for February 17, 2022, will open the Food Week at the Italian Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai. Ministerial envoys and representatives of the Emblematic Communities will participate to update the subscription to the European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation (EGTC). A symbolic moment that kicks off the year of Italian coordination of the network of Emblematic Communities with an initial concrete common planning;

Mediterranean Diet Festival: In June, during the year of the Presidency, an important initiative will be launched to promote the “Mediterranean Diet” heritage at a national level, through organic coordination, enhancing the many actors from the scientific, institutional, and private worlds that have been working for years for its protection and enhancement. The objective is to raise awareness and mobilize citizens, younger generations, businesses, associations, and institutions on the issues of the Mediterranean Diet, the true nexus between human health and the health of the planet, in full harmony with the objectives of the United Nations 2030 Agenda. This is made possible through the support of the UN agencies most involved, UNESCO and FAO. Training programs, conferences, seminars, workshops, exhibitions, shows, book presentations, documentaries and much more will be organized for schools, the scientific community, civil society, cultural operators, and the world of agri-food chains. The calendar will also include initiatives organized directly by the Mediterranean Diet Study Center (Centro Studi Dieta Mediterranea), specifically, events of national importance, and numerous initiatives realized with the contribution of city administrations and universities;

Birthday of the Mediterranean Diet: On November 16th the Mediterranean Diet Study Center in Pollica will organize the institutional event that concludes the year of coordination.

“In the coming year, we are faced with a demanding challenge, but at the same time exciting. With the coordination action to be put in place in 2022, we will not only be able to consolidate and strengthen the value of the Mediterranean Lifestyle as a Cultural Heritage of Humanity as recognized by UNESCO, but it will be essential to be able to affirm the Mediterranean Diet as a new paradigm of sustainable development. A cultural heritage that combines one of the healthiest and most sustainable diets in the world, able to expose the inadequacy of labeling tools such as Nutri-score and that through its traditional and cultural practices promotes a high quality of life, ensuring the preservation of biodiversity of our planet, will have to become a priority for the Mediterranean countries in 2022 also for the post COVID restart,” said the Mayor of Pollica, Stefano Pisani; member of the Italian Observatory for the intangible heritage UNESCO; Mediterranean Diet Focal Point for the UNESCO Emblematic Community of Italy.

“The Mediterranean Diet is a heritage that today more than ever must be protected, disseminated, and enhanced. This year of Italian coordination, voted for today and strongly desired by all the Emblematic Communities, is the result of many years of commitment of the Community of Pollica, and the need to look to future challenges by fostering partnerships and a new ecosystem approach, as is happening today at the Paideia Campus in Pollica. Future Food Institute is proud to support the Municipality of Pollica in this challenging undertaking, with the renewed conviction that in order to face the real integral ecological transition it is necessary to start from the adoption of sustainable lifestyles, of which the Mediterranean Diet, fortunately for us, is the best example in the world,” said Sara Roversi, President of the Future Food Institute; Mediterranean Diet Focal Point for the UNESCO Emblematic Community of Italy.

“I would like to express my appreciation to all members of our Network for their valuable commitment and contribution during this year. The Greek delegation’s purpose was to honor the prestigious UNESCO’s decision through empowering the cooperation of our Network as well as increasing the visibility of the element. Αs far as Italy is concerned, a big thank for the commitment in having always strongly supported the work of the Emblematic Communities and a big good luck for this important year of coordination.” Vicky Inglezou, Director of the Maniatakeion Foundation, Mediterranean Diet Focal Point for the UNESCO Emblematic Community of Greece.