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The fourth World Bee Day next Thursday - Bee Engaged: Building Back Better for Bees

In a week's time, on 20 May, Slovenia and the rest of the world will celebrate World Bee Day for the fourth time. The UN General Assembly proclaimed World Bee Day on 20 December 2017. The main purpose of World Bee Day is to raise awareness among the international public about the importance of bees and other pollinators for humanity in the light of ensuring global food security, eliminating hunger and caring for the environment and biodiversity. On the occasion of this year's World Bee Day, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) addresses the general public under the slogan Bee Engaged: Building Back Better for Bees.

Slovenian apiary

Slovenian apiary | Author Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food

Pollination by bees and wild pollinators is one of the most important ecosystem services. It is essential for the functioning of natural and agricultural ecosystems and, therefore, for food production and biodiversity. Both of these are important for people. As much as 78% of wild plants and 84% of crops in Europe depend on insect pollination. Insect pollination is an important ecosystem service. It amounts to approximately EUR 120 million per year (10% of the income from food production) in agriculture in Slovenia, EUR 22 billion in Europe and at least EUR 153 billion at the global level.

There is an increased need for pollination as a result of the growing world population. Diverse pollinators are crucial for a reliable food production and the conservation of biodiversity. The quantity and the quality (for example the form, stability and nutritional value) of the crops depend on pollination. Food that is produced by insect pollination is the key source of several vitamins. It is therefore indispensable for human health. The quality of crops is important for farmers, who want higher prices for their crops, and consumers, who want quality food.

Apart from honeybees, wild pollinators are also crucial for pollination since they contribute to at least half of the crops. They are even more efficient and they ensure crops of a higher quality due to better pollination.

The events in the recent years have reminded us that food security should not be taken for granted. Pollinators will play an important role in the post-Covid-19 recovery and the transition to sustainable agricultural production or food systems that would be more resilient to crises and other challenges.

By declaring a special day to celebrate bees and wild pollinators, Slovenia greatly contributes to raising awareness of the importance of bees and wild pollinators at the global level. World Bee Day also significantly contributes to the visibility of Slovenia, Slovenian beekeeping and tourism and to solving global issues, such as the transition to sustainable agriculture and the elimination of poverty and hunger in developing countries. World Bee Day is also an opportunity to share our rich knowledge and technology in beekeeping. It strengthens the international reputation of Slovenia as a healthy, green, proactive and innovative country.

Key events on the occasion of World Bee Day on 20 May that will be attended by Minister Jože Podgoršek

  • The Minister will attend the main international event at the invitation of FAO's Director-General, Mr Qu Dongyu. The event will be held virtually (starting at 13.00) under the theme Bee Engaged: Building Back Better for Bees. The participation of other distinguished international guests – apart from FAO's Director-General – is also anticipated: Chinese Minister of Agriculture, Mr Tang Renjian, German Federal Minister of Agriculture, Ms Julia Klöckner, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity, Ms Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, and various experts on bees and wild pollinators from across the globe. The discussion will revolve around global solidarity and cooperation in preventing food crises, the enhanced resilience of agriculture, the prevention of environmental degradation, the protection of pollinators and the contribution of every individual to the support and protection of pollinators. The event is open to the general public. However, it is necessary to register for the event in advance on FAO website.
  • Minister Podgoršek will address the participants of a panel, which will be organised by the Slovenian Embassy in Washington in cooperation with FAO regional office (starting at 17.00 Central European Time). This is one of the numerous events that will be held all over the world. They will be organised by Slovenian diplomatic and consular representations with the participation of representatives of Slovenian governmental and non-governmental institutions. The main topic of the event will be Pollinating a Dynamic Economy: Prioritizing Pollinators for Better Food Systems. The aim of the organisers is to highlight the unique agricultural and environmental challenges that we are faced with and present creative solutions for improving the health and sustainability of the global agriculture and pollinators. The use of sustainable practices in beekeeping and agriculture will be essential for the survival of pollinators in the future. It will also contribute to a safer global food system. The event is open to the general public. It is necessary to register for the event in advance on FAO website.
  • On the occasion of World Bee Day, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food will hold a special promotional event to present the award-winning creative designs and the sculpture of the Golden Bee Award (at 10.00). The best proposals that were submitted to the open competition of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food will be presented at the event. The aim of the open competition was to choose the most innovative and creative design for the Golden Bee Award. The award, which was created by the artist Urh Wiegele, will be on display on the occasion. The Golden Bee Award will be awarded by the Republic of Slovenia at the initiative of the Slovenian Beekeepers’ Association. It is the highest Slovenian award for outstanding achievements at the global level in protecting bees and other pollinators and raising awareness of their importance for sustainable agriculture, food security and the preservation of the environment and biodiversity.

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