Thanks to Italy, food as an expression of the cultural identity of peoples and nations, as well as a vehicle for sustainable development and social cohesion, will be a subject of reflection for UNESCO’s 195 Member States for the first time. In line with Expo Milano 2015 (Feeding the Planet : Energy for Life) and in the framework of the Italian Year of Food, the Italian Permanent Delegation to UNESCO organizes an event on this topic on May 24, in cooperation with the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, with the support of the “Food: Access and Law” UNESCO Chair in Milan and the two UNESCO Creative Cities of Alba and Parma (gastronomy category).
High-profile Italian and foreign personalities will attend the event : representatives of universities, food journalists, chefs who are famous for their engagement for culture and sustainable development, as well as experts from several corners of the world (among which, France, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Belgium, Lithuania and Azerbaijan), who will present their best practices in the field of cultural traditions linked to food, alongside Italy. The debates will highlight the link among food, culinary arts, landscapes, territories, heritage and cultural identity of the peoples they represent. Italy’s culture as well as food, wine and agriculture traditions will be again at the heart of the Organization’s agenda, in a sector where numerous countries (namely the least developed) are making the choice of sustainable development and promoting biodiversity, in line with the objectives of the 2030 Agenda.
I am particularly satisfied – declared the Secretary-General of Italy’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs – that our country has prompted this discussion at UNESCO, where we have been on the forefront for the protection of cultural heritage, both in its tangible and intangible expressions, for a few years now. Our action in this field is far reaching. By creating Italy’s “Blue Helmets for Culture”, we have wished to promote our long experience in the fields of museum conversation, recovery and restauration of cultural heritage in crises zones. We are engaged to highlighting our best practices in the field of gastronomy, which is one of our country’s top exporting sectors with 40 billion euros and we have preserved our food tradition: the Art of the Neapolitan Pizzaiuolo, the Mediterranean diet, the Alberello vineyards of Pantelleria, the wines of the Langhe, just to cite a few examples. This year, we are supporting the nomination of the « Prosecco Hills of Conegliano and Valdobiaddene » in the World Heritage List.
Today’s event – continued the Secretary-General – wouldn’t have been possible without the key contribution of Italian institutions which honor our country (the UNESCO Chair of the University of Milan and the Milan Centre for Food Law and Policy, the Creative Cities, the University of Gastronomic Sciences of Pollenzo, the University of Naples, the Oenology School of Conegliano, Slow Food Italy, the Univerde Foundation). Together, we have strengthened Italy’s leading role in the field of culture and food at UNESCO, but also, in a more general way, in the field of protecting cultural identity as a key element for promoting dialogue and lasting peace on a global scale.