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United Nations General Assembly Resolution on nutrition – Remarks by the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Enzo Moavero Milanesi

The important Resolution of the United Nations General Assembly on nutrition was adopted today in New York, It contains practical indications aimed at promoting healthy diets and healthy lifestyles and at tackling the problem of malnutrition and poor diets.

“The final outcome is undoubtedly also an Italian success,” said the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Enzo Moavero Milanesi. “We have worked for months, advancing our message in the various forums and at all levels. The Farnesina has acted in close connection with the ministries responsible for health, agriculture, industry and foreign trade. Each party gave a contribution, with a team spirit that has made it possible to achieve this important result. We thus managed to prevent misleading and imprecise arguments that could have hindered or undermined the traditional productions of our food supply chain with discriminatory taxes. We have succeeded in ensuring full protection of farmers and of Italian industry “.

The initial UN draft resolution, presented on 12 November last without a prior and in-depth discussion among all the Member States of the World Health Organization, was quite unbalanced. In particular, the States were asked to levy additional taxes and implement other restrictive provisions on a large variety of foods that were going to be penalized because of their high content of fat, sugar and salt, without the support of any objective and sufficiently proven scientific evidence.

Thanks to the effective action of the network of Embassies and, in particular, of our Permanent Mission of Italy to the UN led by Ambassador Zappia, the final text of the Resolution that was adopted avoids any detrimental consequences for us. It respects our cultural and gastronomic heritage, which can be summarized as ‘Mediterranean diet’: a set of foods explicitly recognized by UNESCO as constituting a balanced and healthy diet, characterized by long-standing traditions and by natural and quality products, as Italian products are known to be. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs always monitors at the international level to ensure that Italian agri-food products are protected and constantly promoted in foreign markets. The agri-food industry plays a fundamental role in our economy – it accounts for over 132 billion in turnover, 41 billion in exports and has a remarkable potential for upward growth.