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Minister Šinko: "Our knowledge on bees has improved thanks to beekeepers and World Bee Day"

Five years ago today, the United Nations General Assembly declared 20 May World Bee Day. The National Council of the Republic of Slovenia organised an expert meeting entitled "There will be no bees without beekeepers" together with the Slovenian Beekeepers' Association to mark this occasion. Minister Irena Šinko attended the event. Certificates of recognition were awarded and the national champion in honey was crowned on the margins of the expert meeting.

Ob tej priložnosti je danes v Državnem svetu ob soorganizaciji Čebelarske zveze Slovenije potekal strokovni posvet »Brez čebelarja ne bo čebel!«, ki se ga je udeležila tudi ministrica Irena Šinko. Ob robu posveta so podelili tudi priznanja in razglasili državnega prvaka v medu.

Minister Irena Šinko at the event in the The National Council of the Republic of Slovenia

Minister Irena Šinko at the event in the The National Council of the Republic of Slovenia | Author Ministrstvo za kmetijstvo, gozdarstvo in prehrano

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The host of the event was the President of the National Council Marko Lotrič, who highlighted, in his introduction, the importance of bees for food security and the preservation of a healthy environment and biodiversity. Minister Irena Šinko addressed the participants, stressing that our knowledge on bees has improved and has become better than ever before thanks to the hard-working beekeepers and the promotion of World Bee Day. "Children now know that bees are important pollinators ensuring food, agriculture and biodiversity and contributing significantly to the preservation of the environment. They are aware of the need to respect and protect the bees." Slovenian beekeeping methods are recognised beyond the borders of Slovenia, in particular the Carniolan honey bee and Slovenian apiaries. "All of this contributed greatly to the recent inscription of beekeeping in Slovenia on UNESCO's Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity."

Beekeeping is firmly rooted in Slovenia. This is not only demonstrated by the initiative for World Bee Day, but also by the Traditional Slovenian Breakfast and the Day of Planting Honey Plants projects. Minister Šinko recalled that Golden Bee Award – which will be awarded for the third year in a row – is also very significant for the promotion of beekeeping. "With the award, Slovenia promotes and supports the innovation, excellence and extraordinary achievements of individuals or legal persons who have made a significantly important contribution to protecting bees and other pollinators and raising awareness of their importance around the globe." Minister Irena Šinko added that various measures under the common agricultural policy and national programmes enhance the economic activity of beekeeping and that the Ministry will adopt different interventions for beekeeping to achieve the best results possible, including in the framework of the CAP strategic plan for 2023–2027. She concluded by saying that today's meeting showed that there is plenty of knowledge about the topic and that everybody recognises the importance of translating the findings of research into practice. "Beekeepers definitely play an important role in this, and I would like to thank you for your commitment and efforts."

Boštjan Noč, President of the Slovenian Beekeepers' Association and the initiator of the activities for declaring World Bee Day, emphasised that this became an actual movement. He recalled that Slovenians are a beekeeping nation and that Slovenians have a very rich knowledge despite the unfavourable conditions for beekeeping in Slovenia stemming from the country's history, tradition and culture. The participants were addressed also by Dejan Židan, State Secretary at the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology, former Minister of Agriculture and head of the World Bee Day project. He recalled the events during the preparations for World Bee Day and the actual proclamation in the UN five years ago, while committing for a greater integration and support for beekeeping, in particular in countries that would benefit from Slovenian knowledge. Peter Kozmus, Vice-President of the International Federation of Beekeepers’ Associations – Apimondia, stressed the need to cooperate and offer help, taking into account that numerous countries face much bigger problems than Slovenia.

On 20 December 2017, the UN General Assembly proclaimed 20 May as World Bee Day on the initiative brought forward by Slovenia. The aim of the initiative is to draw the attention of the international public to the importance of bee preservation every year and remind the public that we all depend on bees and other pollinators. Bees and other pollinators are invaluable in economic, social and environmental terms.