The Executive Director of the International Olive Council, Mr Abdellatif Ghedira, was received on 22 September 2016 by Ms Joumane Khaddage Zahalan, the Chargée d’Affaires of the Embassy of Lebanon in Madrid.
On his first visit to this country’s embassy, Mr Ghedira highlighted the importance of Lebanon, an IOC member since November 1973, within the Organisation. Lebanon, which is considered to be one of the cradles of olive growing, is an active participant in IOC activities, namely through the presence of Lebanese experts in different working groups (statistics, value chains, etc.) and through participation in research and development projects (in particular, the project for the conservation, characterisation, collection and use of the genetic resources of olive trees), seminaries, courses and workshops.
The Executive Director used his visit to inform Ms Khaddage Zahalan that the IOC is offering grants to each of its member countries for the celebration of World Olive Day. He also provided an overview of upcoming courses, workshops and meetings organised by the Executive Secretariat and its programme for the recognition of physico-chemical analysis laboratories and tasting panels.
Mr Ghedira acquainted Ms Khaddage Zahalan with the improvements made to the new International Agreement on Olive Oil and Table Olives, in particular in relation to the membership of consumer countries, internal restructuring and the review of procedures. He spoke about the IOC’s participation in COP22, where he will give a presentation on the crucial role of olive growing in mitigating the effects of global warming. He furthermore indicated that the IOC member countries will be meeting from 22 to 25 November, for the 104th ordinary session of the Council of Members, following the meetings of the Advisory Committee and Associations Committee on 21 November. The meetings will also bring Members together on 24 November for the IOC Mario Solinas Quality Award prize-giving ceremony and the celebration of World Olive Day.
Highlighting the importance of strengthening direct ties between the Executive Secretariat and IOC member countries, Mr Ghedira stressed the need for member countries to deposit their instrument of ratification of the new International Agreement on Olive Oil and Table Olives with the Depositary (UN in New York) before the end of 2016 or, if that is not possible before 31 December, to notify the Depositary of their intention to implement the Agreement provisionally as of 1 January 2017.
The Chargée d’Affaires of the Embassy of Lebanon thanked the Executive Director of the IOC for his visit and conveyed her country’s enthusiasm for the Organisation. Undertaking to transmit the information concerning the 2015 Agreement to the Lebanese authorities, she added that her country plans to participate actively in the celebration of World Olive Day.