About the World Bee Day project
In 2014, the Slovenian Beekeepers’ Association started the initiative for May 20 to be declared World Bee Day. The initiative was supported by the Slovenian Government, which strove to realise it. In September 2015, the initiative was also backed by the largest international beekeepers’ organisation, Apimondia.
In the framework of this initiative, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food travelled around the world with a pavilion entitled Bee World and actively promoted and provided information on the initiative and other related projects. In its efforts, the Ministry held a number of bilateral meetings with representatives of other countries and international organisations, and organised various events for experts.
On 17 November 2017, the UN’s Economic and Financial Committee adopted a resolution proclaiming World Bee Day. On 20 December 2017, the resolution was approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York, thus designating 20 May as World Bee Day.
On 17 November 2017, after more than three years of effort, the UN Economic and Financial Committee adopted a resolution proclaiming World Bee Day. On 20 December 2017, the resolution was unanimously approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York, thus proclaiming 20 May as World Bee Day. The initiative was supported by all UN member states, of which 115 countries acted as co-sponsors, including major countries such as the USA, Canada, China, Russia, India, Brazil, Argentina, Australia, as well as all EU Member States.
On the occasion of this important achievement, the project manager, Dejan Židan, said: "I see the proclamation of World Bee Day as an obligation – we want to do more to protect bees and other pollinators, to be more active in ensuring biodiversity and especially more successful in combating world hunger, with bees and other pollinators bearing a significant burden with regard to ensuring the production of food. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who, during these years of hard work, understood the goals of this project and supported and personally believed in it; with your work and support, you have helped us to achieve this goal today, which three and a half years ago seemed difficult to achieve, almost unrealistic. Slovenia may be proud of its people, its country and, above all, its bees."
The aim of World Bee Day is to raise awareness among the world public about the importance and protection of bees and other pollinators. They are increasingly endangered and therefore need the protection of their natural environment, which will enable them to survive. In addition to bee products, which are considered quality food, their biggest contribution is the pollination of almost three quarters of all plants. A third of the world’s food production depends on pollinators.
May 20 was chosen, in addition to being beekeeper's Anton Janša birthday, because May is the month of full development of bees and nature in the northern hemisphere, and in the southern hemisphere a time when bee products and bee pollination fruits are harvested as ecosystem services.
Every year on the occasion of World Bee Day, numerous conferences, celebrations and other events are held in Slovenia and around the world, raising public awareness of the importance of conserving bees, pollinators and biodiversity. At the same time, such celebrations are also an opportunity to promote beekeepers, bee products, the beekeeping cultural heritage and beekeeping in general. Every year, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the host country organise an international celebration of World Bee Day.
The first took place on 20 May 2018 in Slovenia, more precisely in Žirovnica, which is also the birthplace of Anton Janša.
The Slovenian traditional breakfast as a supporting project
An important supporting project for World Bee Day, where Slovenian beekeepers played a key role, is the Traditional Slovenian Breakfast. The beginnings of the project date back to 2007, when Slovenian beekeepers offered honey for breakfast to children in kindergartens and schools for the first time as part of the Honey Breakfast project. As part of this educational and promotional campaign, beekeepers brought honey with them and talked to children, teachers and educators about bees, beekeeping, honey and melliferous plants.
These promising beginnings gave rise to the Traditional Slovenian Breakfast, which was organised for the first time in 2011, based on food donations. Initially, the project was intended primarily for educational institutions, but now an increasing number of other institutions, individuals, companies, tourist facilities and catering establishments are joining it every year.
A significant shift was made in 2013, when the possibility of claiming reimbursement for the purchase of food was introduced. Other items were added to the original bread and honey menu, such as butter, milk and apples or other fresh or dried fruit, but the key factor of origin remains. All the food is produced and processed in Slovenia.
The Traditional Slovenian Breakfast project is undoubtedly a success and has contributed to the fact that more and more children eat breakfast today (more than 50%). The project is broader, as it is about supporting Slovenian producers and food processors, thus promoting self-sufficiency with quality food from the local environment.
In order to enhance awareness of the importance of bees and other pollinators and their vital role in agriculture, the environment, and mankind in general, which is the main objective of the World Bee Day initiative, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food prepared an interactive exhibition entitled "Bee World". The exhibition is presented in a pavilion where visitors can experience the world of bees in an interactive manner, come closer to bees via virtual reality, take photos with them, listen to their buzzing, smell propolis, and engage in other interesting activities, all by means of modern technology.
The dome-shaped pavilion consists of wooden hexagonal elements that form a honeycomb, 6 m in diameter and 3.5 m tall, enhanced by illustrative photos, videos, and other materials on bees reflecting the most recent technological advancements and Slovenian knowledge regarding the topic, all providing a unique experience to visitors.
"The World Bee Day initiative unites us and brings the world together."
The pavilion was first introduced to the public at the headquarters of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation during the 25th session of the Committee on Agriculture in September 2016.