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Since yesterday, the Mediterranean Diet holds a spot in UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage. The proposal to include the Mediterranean diet in the relevant UNESCO list was submitted after a common initiative from the governments of Greece, Spain, Italy and Morocco.
The fifth session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage opened yesterday in Nairobi and will last until November 19th.
The List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding is a list of cultural elements whose viability is at risk despite the efforts of the communities and groups that practice them. In order to be inscribed on this list, States must pledge to implement special protection plans.
According to UNESCO’s announcement, “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. The Mediterranean diet is characterized by a nutritional model that has remained constant over time and space, consisting mainly of olive oil, cereals, fresh or dried fruit and vegetables, a moderate amount of fish, dairy and meat, and many condiments and spices, all accompanied by wine or infusions, always respecting beliefs of each community.
However, the Mediterranean diet (from the Greek diaita, or way of life) 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.”
Sources: ANA – MPA, UNESCO