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Irena Šinko: "I am proud to be part of this story and to come from Slovenia – home of the Carniolan honey bee"

Today, Slovenia and the world celebrate World Bee Day. The main national celebration of World Bee Day was held in Celje as part of the 20th Beekeepers' Festival. Minister Irena Šinko addressed the numerous beekeepers and other guests, highlighting the situation in the world today and the need for food security where pollinators play a very important role.
The minister is standing and talking.

Minister Irena Šinko. | Author Ministrstvo za kmetijstvo, gozdarstvo in prehrano.

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Every year, World Bee Day stresses the importance of bees and other pollinators for nature protection and biodiversity, in particular in light of ensuring food security, providing food for the growing population and eliminating world hunger. This year's 20th edition of the Beekeepers' Festival, which is the largest beekeeping event in Slovenia, was held on World Bee Day in Celje and was organised by the Slovenian Beekeepers' Organisation.

Minister Irena Šinko addressed the participants of the event, expressing satisfaction at the fact that World Bee Day became an important holiday both in Slovenia and around the world, and a time in the year when people gather to celebrate bees and beekeepers. She highlighted, in particular, the need for food security, taking into account the global events, which unfortunately affect the relatively small and therefore vulnerable Slovenian market."In the past years, the market situation also had an impact on beekeepers and that is why the Government provided aid to beekeepers. I would like to stress that beekeeping is much better represented in the 2023–2027 strategic plan compared to the previous programming period." Minister Šinko recalled the Bee Diplomacy involving Slovenian embassies around the world, which organise meetings and visits to schools and non-governmental organisations, spreading the knowledge on bees and honey, and promoting Slovenia on the occasion of World Bee Day or the Traditional Slovenian Breakfast. "The activities carried our in the framework of the Beekeeping Academy of Slovenia are also important internationally."

The Minister highlighted another important area where the Ministry has been active for some time and which was addressed at the initiative of the Slovenian Beekeepers' Association. "Our aim is a more precise honey labelling with the information on the origin of honey and the share of honey originating from a particular source. Numerous EU member states support our efforts in the Agriculture and Fisheries Council. We hope that the European Commission will come up with the best possible labelling proposal." Minister Šinko finished off by saying that she was proud to be part of this story and to come from Slovenia, which is the home of the Carniolan honey bee. "They are calm, kind and hardworking – just like the people. I wish you a nice celebration and a rich harvest despite of the challenging weather unfavourable to pollinators and plants pollinated by them."

Milan Dubravac, President of the International Association of Fire and Rescue Services (CTIF). was the keynote speaker at the event. In his speech, he compared the important work carried out by both firefighters and beekeepers. He stressed the importance of tasks performed by these organisations, such as transferring knowledge, raising awareness and informing the public. "We will have to face challenges, in particular climate change that affects beekeeping, agriculture and the entire food sector, as well as other segments of society." Boštjan Noč, President of the Slovenian Beekeepers' Association, emphasised, in his speech, the unity and self-confidence of beekeepers, who rather look forward than back. "Bees and beekeepers inspire respect in Slovenia. Hundreds of events take place around the world today to honour bees and pollinators, and Slovenia leads the way in this respect. We can be truly proud of this." He recalled the poor beekeeping yields in the past years and the importance of promotion, including by providing information and promoting quality schemes. "This is also a step towards fighting adulterated honey, as it enables consumers to make informed choices." He particularly highlighted and welcomed the activities of Slovenia and the Ministry aiming to regulate honey labelling at the EU level.

As in previous years, beekeepers' associations organise numerous activities and events to mark the occasion in Slovenia, while the diplomatic missions and consular posts of the Republic of Slovenia hold events abroad to provide information and raise awareness of the importance of pollinators abroad. In addition to these events, the third international Golden Bee Award will be awarded on 24 May, which is the highest national award of the Republic of Slovenia for outstanding achievements in the protection of bees and other pollinators and for raising awareness of their importance for humanity and the planet. The award will be presented by the President of the Republic of Slovenia.

Yesterday, an international event took place at FAO headquarters in Rome under the theme Bee engaged in pollinator-friendly agricultural production. The participants from around the world, including Slovenia's President Nataša Pirc Musar as a guest of honour, called for global action to support pollinator-friendly agricultural production and highlighted the importance of protecting bees and other pollinators by adopting evidence-based agricultural practices.