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15.30  The Registry of Food, Foodways and Traditional Agricultural Systems as Intangible Cultural Heritage and its Relation to the Three EU Protection Schemes of PDO, PGI, and TSG: Synergies and Controversies

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13:30, Saturday 4 Jun 2016 (30 minutes)

This paper will look into and analyze the interface between the protection of food and foodways by means of their inscription on the UNESCO List of the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH), on the one hand, and the European Union system of geographical indications and designations of origin, on the other. The EU is a strong proponent of geographical indications and designations of origin, promoting the expansion of rights on the international level and lobbying for an international system of protection, under the prototype of the EU system. 

The growing number of inscriptions of food-related nominations as ICH brings new challenges in the field of exchange of raw materials as well as in the promotion of local products and thus of local economies. The EU system of protection for PDO (protected designation of origin), PGI (protected geographical indication), and TSG (traditional speciality guaranteed) does not only provide labelling names but also names for agricultural products or foodstuffs that present a specific given quality, defined by the producers themselves and influenced by factors such as climate, soil conditions, endogenous varieties, and local communities’ know-how. The goal of the EU system is to ensure the correct use of those names for genuine products as well as to avoid the use of names that could be unfair or misleading for consumers. 

An important starting point for this paper will be to look into the objectives and the impact of the practical application of these two systems. The paper will analyze how the EU system of PDOs, PGIs, and TSGs coordinates with the new possibilities the inscription of foodstuffs as ICH entails. In this respect, the paper will take into consideration the economic interests represented and protected by means of the EU system, the EU position in relevant international negotiations, and, of course, provide for an evaluation of the protection of PDOs, PGIs, and TSGs in relation to the preset goals and accommodating the interests of the stakeholders. 

Finally, the paper will attempt to answer the question “What does heritage change” in the field of geographical indications and designations of origin and how these systems can be used to enhance and promote the protection of foodstuffs as UNESCO cultural heritage.

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