Friday 15 July – An event on the “Mediterranean Diet as an Instrument of Diplomacy” was held today in the Palatine Chapel of the Royal Palace of Caserta. The event was organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in collaboration with the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute/CIHEAM Bari and the Municipality of Caserta.
It opened with addresses by Minister Luigi Di Maio and the Mayor of Caserta, Carlo Marino, and was moderated by Angela Rafanelli, author and presenter of RAI TV’s “Linea Verde” programme. The event continued with presentations by representatives of the local authorities, business associations, Italian entrepreneurs in the agri-food sector and members of international bodies and civil society organisations. They included: Giuseppe Sala, Mayor of Milan; Pina Picierno, Vice-President of the European Parliament; Valentina Stinga, Maria Pina Fontana and Rosanna Marziale, innovative businesswomen in the agri-food sector in Campania; Ettore Prandini, President of della Coldiretti; Fabrizio Marzano, President of Confindustria Campania; Alessandra Pesce, Director of the Research Centre for Agricultural Policies and Bioeconomy at the CREA (the Council for research in agriculture and analysis of the agrarian economy); and Maurizio Raeli, Director of Ciheam Bari.
The conclusions were entrusted to Minister Di Maio and the Director General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Qu Dongyu.
The event was an opportunity for dialogue and reflection on Italian food diplomacy and the sustainability values underpinning the Mediterranean Diet, which is included in UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
The presence of renowned Italian stakeholders, involved at different levels in the issues of food, food security and sustainable agri-food supply chains, made it possible to highlight the examples and good practices developed in Italian cities and territories, even thanks to the foresight of the most innovative entrepreneurs involved in the Italian supply chain.
A strong consensus emerged regarding the actions taken by Italy’s food diplomacy, as did the willingness and commitment to support – from a national production system standpoint – the internationalisation of the agri-food sector, which accounts for more than 20% of Italy’s GDP.
The event also highlighted the role that Italy plays in such issues at a European, Mediterranean and global level, seen as it is developing partnerships and collaborations with international partners such as FAO. The Mediterranean Ministerial Dialogue on the Food Security Crisis, held on 8 June at the Farnesina, was mentioned as one of the initiatives aimed at supporting the countries most affected by the food crisis.
Such a commitment will continue in future international events, starting with the 3rd World Conference on the Mediterranean Diet (to be held in Bari from 28 to 30 September) and the second edition of the Mediterranean Ministerial Dialogue, due in December.