Excellencies, dear colleagues and guests, good morning,
I am very pleased to welcome you this morning at the UN and to chair this rich event entitled “Mediterranean Diet – Lifestyle for a Sustainable Future. A cultural asset, a strategic tool for Sustainable Development”.
Allow me, first, to warmly thank our co-hosts and partners, starting from the DPR of Morocco, Amb. Kadiri (Omar), and our co-conveners, in particular the Future Food Institute, the Mediterranean Diet Network, the Italian Coordination of the UNESCO Emblematic Community of the Mediterranean Diet, the City of Pollica and its Mayor. I also wish to warmly welcome our distinguished panelists for their important presence here.
The objective of today’s meeting is to highlight the multiple values of the Mediterranean Diet, which is an emblem of what “Sustainability” is all about. There is scientific evidence acknowledging that the Mediterranean Diet is one of the most important diets and lifestyles for people, planet and prosperity and it is therefore one of our allies to accelerate action on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Mediterranean Diet also represents Italian and Mediterranean identities at their best. Italy is very proud to have led, together with our Mediterranean neighbors, the promotion and inscription in 2013 of the Mediterranean Diet on the List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity of UNESCO.
The Mediterranean diet involves a set of skills, knowledge, but also rituals, symbols and traditions on the preparation, production, sharing and consumption of food. Eating together is the foundation of the cultural identity and continuity of communities throughout the Mediterranean basin. The Mediterranean diet emphasizes the values of hospitality, neighbourliness, intercultural dialogue, cooperation and sharing. It plays a vital role in cultural spaces, as well as for the social and economic sectors, with the local dimension being at the center of this regional heritage.
It is therefore a tangible example of a driver for Sustainable Development, which touches upon the majority of the SDGs of the 2030 Agenda and it’s a model of excellence for ensuring sustainable food systems, food security and nutrition and sustainable development touching upon the social, economic and environmental dimensions of it.
These were the elements that Italy has also promoted during 2021 UN Food Systems Summit in New York and the Rome Pre-Summit, as well as during our Presidency of the G20, with the first ever G20 Matera Declaration of Food Security, Nutrition and Food Systems.
Let me add that, while the Mediterranean Diet can be further promoted, we also need to preserve it, together with the other traditional diets. In a world in fast transformation, we must ensure that healthy, traditional and sustainable diets remain at the center of food systems, food security and nutrition, avoiding threats to their uniqueness and value. We must invest on these and promote them further.
At the turbulent times, it is also the case to recall the key role of food security for peace. The “Black Sea Grain Initiative” is a tangible example of how food diplomacy and cooperation can directly contribute to building peace and stability. And it is in continuity with this that Italy has promoted the “Mediterranean Dialogue on the Food Crisis”, to enhance regional cooperation to address the current crisis.
Italy remains fully committed to these actions and to the promotion of these values and practices, in our Country and in the rest of the world, also in partnership with the UN and starting from the three UN Rome-based Agencies. We are also proud to chair, here in New York, the Group of Friends of Food Security and Nutrition, composed by more than 50 Member States with which we promote food security and nutrition at all levels.
Let me conclude by recalling that the elements of sustainability, cooperation, inclusivity, innovation applied to nutrition, are also at the core of Italy’s candidature to host Expo 2030 in Rome. In particular, a special focus of this bid is given to agricultural innovation and technology as instrumental to foster biodiversity. I invite you all to explore Expo 2030 Rome‘s vision and access it through our main channels.
Now, without further ado, I wish to give the floor to our co-host and friend Amb. Kadiri of Morocco. Omar, you have the floor.