The Mediterranean diet is now included among new additions to the U.N. list celebrating the world's "intangible cultural heritage", UNESCO announced after the meeting in Nairobi of the Intergovernmental Committee for the safeguarding of the intangible cultural heritage.
"The Mediterranean diet constitutes a set of skills, knowledge, practices and traditions ranging from the landscape to the table, including the crops, harvesting, fishing, conservation, processing, preparation and, particularly, consumption of food" reads UNESCO's website. The reasons that lead UNESCO's Committee to add the Mediterranean diet in the intangible cultural heritage list include:
- the Mediterranean diet encompasses more than just food. It promotes social interaction, since communal meals are the cornerstone of social customs and festive events.
- it has given rise to a considerable body of knowledge, songs, maxims, tales and legends.
- The system is rooted in respect for the territory and biodiversity, and ensures the conservation and development of traditional activities and crafts linked to fishing and farming in the Mediterranean communities which Soria in Spain, Koroni in Greece, Cilento in Italy and Chefchaouen in Morocco are examples.
- Women play a particularly vital role in the transmission of expertise, as well as knowledge of rituals, traditional gestures and celebrations, and the safeguarding of techniques.
Representatives of the governments of Italy, Spain, Greece and Morocco showed great satisfaction for this decision. Italian Minister for Agriculture Giancarlo Galan stated: "After days of negotiations, we attained the desired outcome.
This remarkable success fills me with pride and satisfaction and represents a historic milestone for our food traditions and for the culture of the entire country."