World Bee Day is being marked around the world is to raise awareness among the global public about the importance of bees and other pollinators for humanity.
The UN General Assembly proclaimed World Bee Day on 20 December 2017 designating 20 May as World Bee Day. A resolution was passed by Slovenia and supported by all UN member states.
The date was chosen as it was the day Anton Jansa, a pioneer of modern apiculture, was born. Jansa came from a family of beekeepers in Slovenia, where beekeeping is an important agricultural activity with a long-standing tradition.
The Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) aims to draw attention to the importance of engagement and actions of countries, organisations, research and educational institutions, civil society, farmers, beekeepers and the public for the conservation of bees and other pollinators.
The importance of bees
Bees are one of the major pollinators ensuring food and food security, sustainable agriculture and biodiversity. Bees also contribute to the mitigation of climate change and environmental conservation.
In the long-term, the protection of bees and the beekeeping sector can help reduce poverty and hunger, as well as preserve a healthy environment and biodiversity.
Scientific studies have proven that bees have become increasingly endangered and it is only through joint efforts that we can ensure the protection of bees and their habitats.
The survival of bees
Bees and other pollinators, such as butterflies and hummingbirds, are increasingly under threat from human activities. Pollinators contribute directly to food security and are the key to conserving biodiversity.
Pollination is a fundamental process for the survival of our ecosystems. Nearly 90 percent of the world’s wild flowering plant species depend on animal pollination, along with more than 75 percent of the world’s food crops and 35 percent of global agricultural land.
Pollinators allow many plants, including many food crops, to reproduce. Indeed, the food that we eat, such as fruits and vegetables, directly relies on pollinators. A world without pollinators would equal a world without food diversity – no blueberries, coffee, chocolate, cucumbers and so much more.
Pollinators not only help ensure the abundance of fruits, nuts, and seeds, but also their variety and quality, which is crucial for human nutrition. Beyond food, pollinators also contribute directly to medicines, biofuels, fibers like cotton and linen, and construction materials.
The vast majority of flowering plant species only produce seeds if animal pollinators move pollen from the anthers to the stigmas of their flowers. Without this service, many interconnected species and processes functioning within the ecosystem would collapse.
Pollination is a keystone process, in both human managed and natural terrestrial ecosystems. It is critical for food production and human livelihoods and directly links wild ecosystems with agricultural production systems
Wold Bee Day 2020
UN designated 20 May as World Bee Day to raise awareness of the importance of pollinators, the threats they face and their contribution to sustainable development.
The goal is to strengthen measures aimed at protecting bees and other pollinators that would significantly contribute to solving problems related to the global food supply and eliminate hunger in developing countries.
The recent COVID-19 pandemic has had an undeniable impact on the beekeeping sector affecting the production, market and as a consequence, the livelihoods of beekeepers.
This year World Bee Day focused on bee production and good practices adopted by beekeepers to support their livelihoods and deliver good quality products.
What can we do?
There are many actions which Individuals, communities and the governments can take on World Bee Day. We can plant a diverse set of native plants that flower at different times of the year and buy products from sustainable agricultural practices.
Buying raw honey from local farmers, sponsoring a hive, protecting wild bee colonies and avoiding pesticides in gardens are some of the ways we can help preserve forest ecosystems.
You can also make a bee water fountain by leaving a water bowl outside. Most importantly, we need to raise awareness around us by sharing the alarming information within our communities and networks that the decline of bees affects us all.
The government needs to strengthen the participation of local communities in decision-making who know and respect ecosystems and biodiversity;
It needs to enforce strategic measures including monetary incentives. The government needs to increase collaboration between national and international organisations, academic and research networks to monitor and evaluate pollination services.