The International Centre of Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies (CIHEAM) is an international intergovernmental organisation founded in 1962 by the OECD and the Council of Europe.
The issues it is concerned with include agriculture, the environment, fishing and rural development in the Mediterranean region. In recent years CIHEAM has also focused on the Mediterranean Diet, not only as specific and typical foods but also as an expression of the cultures and traditions of the Mediterranean peoples. This theme has been thoroughly examined and discussed, especially during the Conferences of the Agricultural Ministers of CIHEAM member countries, held every two years in one of the 13 member states.
Since the June 2001 Ministerial Conference in Athens, CIHEAM has launched activities to enhance the diversity of values the Mediterranean Diet expresses, in order to promote sustainable rural development.
During the Saragossa Ministerial Conference in February 2008, CIHEAM used its Italian Centre to propose that UNESCO include the Mediterranean Diet in its list of intangible cultural heritage of humanity, and contributed to drafting the documents supporting its candidacy.
In addition, the final declaration of the March 2010 8th Ministerial Conference in Istanbul, stated the need to work on promoting a healthy and sustainable regional food system, according to the standards of the Mediterranean Diet.
Lastly, at the September 2012 9th Ministerial Conference in Malta, CIHEAM and the FAO organised an International Workshop on food system sustainability in the Mediterranean region. The first session of the workshop wasdedicated in particular to the sustainability of the Mediterranean Diet, and the conclusions of this session emphasised the need to develop guidelines for improving the sustainability of diets and food consumption patterns in the Mediterranean region. The Ministers approved the conclusions of the International Workshop and integrated them into the final statement of the Conference, which called on the Mediterranean and international institutions to support implementation of the Workshop recommendations.