This year's Golden Bee Award goes to Dr Slobodan Davidović from Serbia
This is the third year of the award, marking the end of the first triennium of the fields for which the Republic of Slovenia awards the prize. This year's Golden Bee Award was awarded for research into bees and other pollinators. The previous two awards were given out for the promotion and awareness raising of the importance of bees and other pollinators (the first award went to Dr Lucas Alejandro Garibaldi from Argentina) and for the preservation of bees and other pollinators (last year's award went to Boštjan Noč from Slovenia).
Upon presenting the award, President Dr Nataša Pirc Musar stressed the importance of bees and other wild pollinators for food security, adding that every third spoonful of food and 90% of plant pollination depend on bees and other wild pollinators. "The Golden Bee Award is definitely one of Slovenia's main tools for raising awareness on pollinators and for promoting special achievements in the field of their protection. This year's emphasis on science reflects its importance in tackling global issues. That is why I would like to sincerely congratulate all three finalists of this year's award." The President noted that each and every one of us can contribute significantly to protecting bees and wild pollinators. In this context, it is also important to buy food from local farmers.
Minister Irena Šinko highlighted Slovenia's efforts for a sustainable agriculture and for preserving bees and other wild pollinators. She noted that this year's award winner contributes significantly to the future of bees and other wild pollinators. "With the Serbhiwe project, the award winner conducts research on the genetic variability in natural populations of bees and wild pollinators in Serbia. The project sets milestones for preparing a national strategy for sustainable management of wild pollinators and their habitats, aiming to protect the natural populations of pollinators and improve their management. His analyses show that these populations have greater genetic diversity, which shows the need to change beekeeping practices for honey bees in order to improve their capacity to respond to challenges they are faced with."
The award winner Dr Slobodan Davidović stressed in his speech: "I am very happy to receive the prize, which will add impetus to the project. Our project has proved to be very good and I hope that it will contribute to preserving bees and other wild pollinators."
The other two nominees shortlisted for the award were Pau Enric Serra Marin from Spain and Prof. Dr Fani Hatjina from Greece.
World Bee Day was proclaimed at the initiative of the Slovenian Beekeepers' Association. After years of work, support seeking and complex formal procedures, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Slovenian Beekeepers' Association and other partners and line ministries succeeded in their efforts in 2017, when the United Nations proclaimed 20 May as World Bee Day. This is one of Slovenia's greatest diplomatic achievements. 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.
Since the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food is aware of the importance and responsibility brought about by the proclamation of World Bee Day, it organises various events each year to raise awareness about the importance of bees and other pollinators and carries out other systemic activities that are important for beekeeping. The Golden Bee Award is one of its greatest promotional and informational projects, encouraging active involvement in protecting bees and other pollinators.
The award winner receives a sculpture and a plaque, as well as a financial award in the amount of €28 000. Urh Wiegele produced the creative design for the Golden Bee sculpture, which was selected through an anonymous open competition. The Golden Bee sculpture symbolises the life of bees – their trips to and from the beehive and the infinitely great tasks they accomplish through a seemingly infinite number of small actions. It reflects the direct link between bees and the actions of the award winner.