UNESCO Board Endorses 'World Olive Tree Day'

Following a proposal by Lebanon and Tunisia, UNESCO's executive board has recommended support for "all efforts leading to the proclamation of the World Olive Tree Day."
By Isabel Putinja
Apr. 30, 2019 07:57 UTC

The exec­u­tive board of UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) has rec­om­mended that November 26 of every year be cel­e­brated as World Olive Tree Day.

The res­o­lu­tion was adopted last week at the exec­u­tive board’s 206th ses­sion in Paris fol­low­ing a pro­posal put for­ward by Lebanon and Tunisia.

(The olive tree is) a sym­bol of peace between men and a sym­bol of human activ­ity in peace with nature.- Ghazi Gherairi, Tunisian ambas­sador to UNESCO

Following the adop­tion of the res­o­lu­tion, Sahar Baassiri, the Lebanese ambas­sador to UNESCO, reminded del­e­gates of the his­tor­i­cal, mytho­log­i­cal and sym­bolic sig­nif­i­cance of the olive tree. The Tunisian ambas­sador, Ghazi Gherairi, added that the tree is a uni­ver­sal sym­bol of peace.

“[The olive tree is] a sym­bol of peace between men and a sym­bol of human activ­ity in peace with nature,” he said.

See Also:Olive Oil Culture

The exec­u­tive board said that it wel­comes and endorses the rec­om­men­da­tion to pro­claim November 26 of each year the World Olive Tree Day.”

The board has now asked the direc­tor-gen­eral of UNESCO to sup­port the res­o­lu­tion, which will be included on the agenda of the 40th ses­sion of the UNESCO General Conference this fall where it will be put to a vote.

The board said that the annual cel­e­bra­tion of World Olive Tree Day will help to pro­tect this ancient plant and pre­serve its long-stand­ing value,” and empha­sized the sig­nif­i­cance of the olive tree as a uni­ver­sal sym­bol of peace and har­mony.

A wreath of olive branches is embla­zoned not only on the flag of the United Nations, but also on the flags of other orga­ni­za­tions and states,” mem­bers of the board wrote in pub­lic notes. Today, the olive tree is grown on six con­ti­nents and con­tributes to the sus­tain­able eco­nomic and social devel­op­ment of many coun­tries and to the preser­va­tion of nat­ural resources.”

The res­o­lu­tion points out that the tree is a com­mon artis­tic theme, hav­ing inspired poets, writ­ers and artists through the ages. It cites the 6,000-year-old his­tory of olive tree cul­ti­va­tion in the Mediterranean and the fact that the olive tree is now grown in 56 coun­tries.

It also alludes to the tree’s impact on sus­tain­able eco­nomic and social devel­op­ment by employ­ing mil­lions of men and women, as well as the nutri­tional and health val­ues of the olive fruit.

Finally, the role played by the tree in envi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion is high­lighted: it pre­vents deser­ti­fi­ca­tion, pro­tects against ero­sion and has the poten­tial to increase atmos­pheric car­bon diox­ide fix­a­tion in the soil.


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