In order to bring the IOC closer to its member countries and increase the visibility of the Organisation, on 2 September the Executive Secretariat published a call for proposals for grants to co-finance celebrations of World Olive Day (26 November) in IOC member countries. The idea is to set up an annual celebration of World Olive Day across all member countries, through simultaneous events including the public reading of an official declaration.
The grant applications sent to the IOC were required to propose a programme that included a press conference or similar event raising awareness of World Olive Day and the public reading of a joint declaration drafted by the Executive Secretariat; in addition, the programme could include events or activities such as seminars, trade fairs; symposiums to discuss the links between olive products and health, olive growing and the environment, the history of olive growing or the olive growing economy; the production of promotional material (brochures, CDs, books, etc.); or inviting international experts to participate in planned activities.
Of the 16 proposals received, the Evaluation Committee awarded grants to nine initiatives:
Algeria: Celebration of World Olive Day 2016, inaugurated by the Minister of Agriculture, including a visit to an exhibition in Jijel, a demonstration of the operation of a crushing unit and a tasting of the oil produced, followed by olive tree planting and a press conference.
Egypt: Press conference, seminar on olive growing and the environment and the health benefits of olive products. (University of Alexandria)
Spain: Workshop for foreign students at the University of Jaén including a talk on olive oil, with a tasting session and cooking demonstrations. (University of Jaén)
Greece: Press conference, sensory analysis session and seminar on the health benefits of olive oil, organoleptic quality standards, and quality management. (Kalamata Olive Oil Taste Laboratory)
Italy: Development of the olive oil quality system (U.n.a.pr.ol): conference on the economic, environmental and legal aspects of appellation of origin procedures.
Morocco: 5th edition of the International Forum on Olive Oil (Agro-Pôle Olivier (ENA), Meknès): conference highlighting the value of the olive tree biomass: technological innovation and the considerations of a new and renewable energy source.
Tunisia: Celebration of World Olive Day focusing on the extension of the Tunisian olive growing area to ensure the sustainability of the olive sector (ONH): meeting of the Tunisian sector; planting of 1000 olive feet in nurseries; drawing and photography competition on the subject of olive trees; and the production of a documentary on the history of olive growing in Tunisia.
Portugal: The organisation of an information session (Casa do Azeite) to present the latest statistics, consumption trends and the health benefits of olive oil, among others, together with an olive oil tasting session.
Turkey: Visit of an old oil mill, harvest of monumental trees and oil extraction using a press kept at the Museum of Olive Oil; and a conference on the health benefits of olive products, their place in Turkish gastronomy and their historical and economic value for the region and the country – Urla (UZZK).
The IOC will also celebrate World Olive Day with a ceremony that will be held at the headquarters of the Organisation on 24 November. At this event, the Executive Director will read the common official declaration on the importance of olive trees, their health benefits and their environmental importance. This will also be the subject of a short film prepared for the IOC conference “Olive oil, the liquid gold helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions”, at COP22 on 16 November. The World Olive Day ceremony will also include a tribute to Professor Shimon Lavee, who twice held office as the IOC Chairperson and who contributed considerably to the activities of the Organisation and to the development of the sector. A reception will be held afterwards for participants, the press and the members of the diplomatic corps.