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Address by the Ambassador of Italy, Gianluigi Benedetti on the occasion of the webinar “Lifestyles for human and planet prosperity: connections between Mediterranean Diet and Okinawa Diet” Italian Cuisine Week in the World, 25 November 2021

Dear participants,

It is a pleasure for me to open this Panel focused on the connections between the Mediterranean Diet and the Okinawa Diet, organized on the occasion of the sixth edition of the Week of the Italian Cuisine in Japan.

I wish to thank all who contributed to the organization of this webinar, but in particular the Future Food Institute and the Municipality of Pollica that every year support this important initiative of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation by promoting a rich calendar of events to be held during the Week. I am very glad that, also this year, they are one of our partners.

Every edition of the Italian Cuisine Week is focused on a different theme. This year the week is dedicated to food sustainability. Recently, food production sustainability and food waste have become topics of increasing interest in the international agenda since they pose great challenges to all of us. In particular, Italy, with its extraordinary food culture and its worldwide known Mediterranean diet, has a primary responsibility on this front.

The Mediterranean diet is much more than a food model. It represents a sustainable lifestyle based on skills, knowledge and values generated by local traditions and wisdom.

Italy is convinced that there is no universal diet, but that local communities develop their specific response in terms of nutrition, food availability and creativity.

This is the case for Cilento, a very special area in the South of Italy and homeland of the Mediterranean diet, and Okinawa, the island of the Ryukyu archipelago in the South of Japan, whose millenarian diet has made the island historically known for the longevity of its inhabitants.

These two regions represent extraordinary examples of food sustainability and healthy diets that can be taken as model for the world. I am therefore very grateful to the Future Food Institute and to all panelists to address this interesting parallelism between those two lifestyles and diets as well as for the enthusiasm in supporting and promoting the Italian cuisine and the Mediterranean diet.

Thanks to all of you