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Boštjan Noč receives the 2022 Golden Bee Award

The second Golden Bee Award was awarded today on World Bee Day. Boštjan Noč, President of the Slovenian Beekeepers' Association, received the award. Alojz Kovšča, President of the National Council of the Republic of Slovenia, presented the award at the ceremony attended by Jože Podgoršek, Minister and Chair of the Golden Bee Award Committee, and Urška Klakočar Zupančič, President of the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia. Numerous events were held around the world to celebrate today's World Bee Day.

Three persons standing and taking a photo.

From left ro right: Reciever of the Golden Bee Award, Boštjan Noč, president of the National Council of the Republic of Slovenia Alojz Kovšca and the minister Jože Podgoršek. | Author Anže Malovrh/STA

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The Golden Bee Award Committee chose from among 12 nominees. There were three nominations from France, two from Italy and Libya, and one from Slovenia, Germany, Greece, Egypt and China. The topic of this year's award is the preservation of bees and other pollinators. The committee selected Boštjan Noč, President of the Slovenian Beekeepers' Association, as the winner of the 2022 Golden Bee Award.

With projects associated with World Bee Day and the Golden Bee Award, Slovenia promotes the transfer of knowledge and technology and increases its global visibility as a green, healthy, proactive and innovative country. At today's ceremony, Jože Podgoršek, Minister and Chair of the Committee, highlighted the contribution of the award winner to the promotion of beekeeping in Slovenia and across the world: "He has made an important contribution nationally and internationally to developing responsibility towards these small creatures, which are essential for our food security and our planet. With his enormous energy, he is the driver of activities, which have recently gone beyond beekeeping and triggered a social movement to support the bees and nature, local integration between producers and consumers, and the use of beekeeping experience and tradition in tackling contemporary challenges." He highlighted World Bee Day and the 3D Carniolan Bee as the most important projects of Boštjan Noč.

Upon receiving the award, Boštjan Noč said: "I would like to take this opportunity to thank all Slovenian beekeepers as they represent the foundation of beekeeping in Slovenia. This award is for them. I would like to stress that we must continue to take care of bees, since they are a sign of a clean environment. It is also important to follow the example of bees, to connect and continue to work together."

World Bee Day

World Bee Day highlights the global importance of bees and other pollinators for sustainable agriculture, global food supply and hunger eradication. Every third spoonful of food depends on pollination. By pollinating crops, bees are an important source of jobs and farmers' income, in particular as regards small and family farms in developing countries. They also play an important role in preserving nature and biodiversity. It is vital to protect pollinators, which are threatened by human activities, in particular intensive farming, the wide use of pesticides and pollution caused by waste. Bees are exposed to new diseases and pests. The bees' habitat is shrinking due to the growing world population. Their survival and development are increasingly threatened by climate change.

On the initiative of the Slovenian Beekeepers’ Association, the Republic of Slovenia initiated procedures in the United Nations in 2015 to declare World Bee Day and proposed a resolution emphasising the importance of bees and other pollinators for sustainable development and the preservation of the planet for future generations. The aim of the initiative is to draw the attention of the international public to the importance of bee and pollinator preservation, highlight the importance of bees for agriculture, the environment and the entire humanity, and call for specific activities for their preservation.

Slovenia proposed the celebration of World Bee Day in the month of May for a number of reasons. It is when bees in the northern hemisphere are most active and begin to reproduce. This is also the period in which the need for pollination is greatest. In the southern hemisphere it is autumn, a time for harvesting bee products, which marks the days and weeks of honey. In addition, 20 May is the birth date of Anton Janša, who is considered a pioneer of modern beekeeping and one of the greatest experts in this field of his time.

The promotion of World Bee Day contributes to the global visibility of Slovenia and Slovenian beekeeping. This provides opportunities for further development and expansion to international markets in numerous fields. One of them is definitely to market beekeeping knowledge and skills. Further development is possible as regards the offer of Slovenian beekeeping equipment, the export of bee products with a higher added value and the like. World Bee Day is also an opportunity for other branches of the economy, including tourism, trade and the hospitality industry, and for the general promotion of Slovenia globally.

Since 2022 was declared the European Year of Youth, the main topic of this year's celebration is youth and beekeeping. It addresses young people and raises awareness of the importance of pollinators and their protection and of learning beekeeping skills, which are passed down from generation to generation. Knowledge transfer and awareness raising of the importance of bees are vital for the future of beekeeping, in particular with regard to young people who represent our future. Beekeeping enables the creation of new green jobs and offers new opportunities for beekeeping families and farms to develop apitourism or other products with added value. The Slovenian Beekeepers' Association and its many beekeeping societies conducted across the country have done a lot to educate young beekeepers. Young beekeepers demonstrate their knowledge in annual gatherings and competitions. In the coming year, Slovenia will host an international competition for young beekeepers.

World Bee Day across the world

Diplomatic and consular representations of the Republic of Slovenia around the world will organise numerous events to celebrate World Bee Day.

  • The Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia in Bucharest set up a Slovenian bee house in the city centre as part of a permanent collection available to all visitors.
  • The Slovenian Embassy in Vienna supported the project of the Schönbrunn Zoo and the Natural History Museum Vienna aimed at examining wild bee species on the zoo's premises. A sample survey reveals that 86 different species of wild bees from 20 bee colonies live on the zoo’s premises. The findings of the study will be available in autumn. An explanatory board will be placed in the Schönbrunn Zoo with information on the friendship with Slovenia.
  • The Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia in Brazil will hold an expert dialogue on bees, the environment and agriculture. The Brazilian Botanical Garden launched a photographic exhibition of Simon Plestenjak, an internationally renowned Slovenian photographer living in Brazil. His photographic exhibition on native Brazilian bee species has attracted great attention and was published in the renowned National Geographic magazine.
  • The Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia in Dublin has also launched a photographic exhibition. It features photographs representing the everyday life of bees and Carniolan honey bees and highlighting the importance of bees and beekeeping for food security. Photographs will be a part of the permanent exhibition at the Embassy and will be taken on tours around the country.

National beekeeping holiday

The main national celebration of this year's World Bee Day will be held tomorrow, on 21 May 2022, in Dolenjske Toplice. It is organised by the Slovenian Beekeepers' Association. The celebration, taking place annually on the Saturday closest to 20 May, will be held together with the traditional beekeeping holiday, which had taken place even before the proclamation of World Bee Day. Last year's winner of the Golden Bee Award Prof. Lucas Alejandro Garibaldi from Argentina, an internationally renowned scientist and researcher, will also attend the event.