20 - THE NATIONAL NETWORK OF COMMUNITIES OF THE MEDITERRANEAN DIET
- Author: PROF. DONATO LIMONE
With this training module we present the UNESCO National Network of Mediterranean Diet communities. The National Network of Mediterranean Diet Communities was established by the Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies to promote, enhance and safeguard the Mediterranean Diet and to implement virtuous paths for the promotion and protection of the UNESCO element. Who are the subjects that make up the Network? The National Network of UNESCO Mediterranean Diet communities, open to all those who wish to subscribe to the Charter of values of the UNESCO Mediterranean Diet and who will be able to demonstrate that they have achieved certain objectives and take on certain commitments, may be made up of four categories of subjects: entities territorial institutions (cultural institutes, foundations, museums, ecomuseums, etc.), research institutes (research centers, universities) and civil society (associations).
What are the requirements that must be met and what are the commitments that participants must make in order to be a part of this network? Regarding the requirements, some are universal and can be applied to all participants, others are specific to the category to which the participant belongs. All parties must be not-for-profit, must be socially oriented and able encourage participation, and must have intent and ability to promote the Mediterranean Diet in at least one of its numerous aspects (cultural, nutritional, environmental, etc). Examples of category-specific requirements includes the protection of land by regional authorities, the providing of nutritional education or training in sustainable development by institutions, or the engaging of the elderly with the very young to encourage inter-generational exchange by social associations, etc. Specific requirements can better understood by consulting the table that accompanies this lesson.
Regarding commitments that participants are asked to make, just as with the requirements some are universal and some are category-specific. All participants must report their safeguarding measures and promotional activities to the the Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies, including both completed measures as well as those planned for the future. They must follow any guidelines provided by the Ministry and by UNESCO, and follow all national and international regulations. Category- specific commitments are varied, but could include the preservation of landscape or local knowledge, the organization of seminars and conferences regarding the Mediterranean Diet, of national or international scope. Commitments could also take the form of encouraging participation in agricultural activities, rituals, or activities that promote intercultural exchange. We invite readers to refer to the table provided for more specific requirements and commitments for each category of participant in the National Network of Mediterranean Diet Communities.