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Minister Pivec on a state visit to Norway

The Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Dr Aleksandra Pivec joined the President of the Republic of Slovenia, Borut Pahor, on his state visit to Norway. The visit, hosted by King Harald V of Norway, covered numerous events and meetings attended, among others, by Norway's Prime Minister and President of Parliament. One event that received a lot of attention focused on the promotion of beekeeping and the role of pollinators in sustainable food processing, at which Minister Pivec was one of the speakers. On the occasion, President Pahor gifted the King of Norway a Slovenian beehive with painted panels.

The aim of the state visit was to strengthen bilateral ties and cooperation between the two countries. Slovenia and Norway traditionally have several areas of interest in common, mainly winter sports, collaboration between scientific institutions, cultural cooperation and beekeeping. Slovenia and Norway have strong beekeeping traditions and are major promotors of the vital role of bees and other pollinators. Norway has been home to the Carniolan honey bee for many years, and both countries are aware of the global importance of pollination, particularly in modern times.

A seminar on the promotion of beekeeping and the role of pollinators in sustainable food processing was thus also part of the state visit's programme, with Minister Dr Aleksandra Pivec as speaker. In her speech, the Minister stressed the importance of pollinators in sustainable farming, food security and the environment. She pointed out that, according to data from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, 820 million people suffer from chronic undernourishment. "On the other hand, we are faced with an obesity epidemic: for the first time ever, the number of overweight people – 830 million – is higher than the number of undernourished people. This means that we have not made any progress since the adoption of the global development agenda in 2015. On the contrary, the number of people suffering from hunger has been rising constantly over the past four years." The Minister believes that we cannot continue our current unsustainable manners of production and consumption that are affecting so many people and destroying our planet. "But we cannot give up. There is still time to act and make the necessary changes. But we must act now, on all levels – globally, regionally, nationally, locally and individually."

According to the Minister, pollinators are an excellent example of how small and constant efforts can save our ecosystems. "Bees and wild pollinators are often overlooked, but their work – pollination – helps ensure sufficient quantities and diversity of our food." Finally, the Minister highlighted the importance of beekeeping in Slovenia. "Bees and beekeeping have a long tradition in Slovenia. Beekeeping is closely related to family farming, which is the prevalent farming model in Slovenia. Bees are also part of our urban landscape and life. Beekeeping is part of our heritage and identity, and we like to say that bees stand for many of the values upon which Slovenia was built: hard work, diligence and a strong sense of community."

On the occasion, President Borut Pahor gifted the King of Norway a Slovenian beehive with painted panels. The beehive relays the message that bees and pollinators are an indispensable part of our ecosystem that ensures food security, survival and biodiversity, said the Minister. "We must act together in order to create a better future for ourselves and for our planet."