The IOC celebrated World Olive Day on 24 November with a ceremony attended by the delegations of the member countries, representatives of the sector, authorities and members of the diplomatic corps. At the event, the Executive Director read out a joint Declaration of all IOC member countries joining in the celebration of World Olive Day. Under its call to “Choose olives to protect our planet and our health!” this declaration highlights the role of olive growing in the sustainable economic and social development of a number of countries, and as part of the solution in combating global warming.
On behalf of the Spanish Minister of Agriculture, the Secretary General for Food and Agriculture, Mr Carlos Cabanas, commended the contributions of the IOC and its member countries to making olive oil recognized as a reference for food and gastronomic quality worldwide.
The ceremony also included a tribute to Professor Shimon Lavee, who twice held office as IOC Chairperson, introduced drip irrigation to olive growing, and whose tireless research contributed to the work of the Council and to the development of the olive sector as a whole. In return, the Head of the Israeli Delegation read out a letter of thanks on behalf of Professor Lavee’s widow, alongside a moving slideshow of his life.
A presentation was given of the new edition of “The international olive oil production sector” by Juan Vilar and Rafael Cárdenas (edition not yet available in English) – with a prologue by the IOC Executive Director – and copies were given to every participant.
Lastly, the role of olive growing in the protection of the environment was highlighted through the projection of a short film entitled “Olive oil, the liquid gold helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions”. This film had been presented by the IOC on 16 November at the International Conference on Climate Change (COP22), held in Marrakech.
In order to set up an annual celebration of World Olive Day across all member countries, through simultaneous events, the Executive Secretariat published a call for proposals for grants to co-finance celebrations of World Olive Day (26 November) in IOC member countries.