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Minister Dejan Židan: “World Bee Day joins and links the world”

Rim, 29 September 2016 – Today, Minister Dejan Židan appeared before the FAO Committee on Agriculture (COAG) held at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation headquarters (FAO) in Rome. The Minister presented Slovenia’s initiative for the United Nations to proclaim 20 May World Bee Day. Many representatives from several countries and regional groups participated in the discussion, and in the first part the initiative received very strong support according to initial estimates from more than 2/3 of the FAO Member States (in total there are 197 FAO Member States). Discussion will be continued in the afternoon and Slovenia is expecting to be supported by all the countries at the end of the meeting.

In his speech Minister Židan pointed out that it is our moral obligation to ensure a clean and healthy environment for our future generations and enable them to have diverse and healthy food available, in which bees and other pollinators play an important role. “Slovenia believes that by celebrating a special day dedicated to bees and, accordingly, to other pollinators as well, we would, at the global level, contribute significantly to raising the awareness of general public on the importance of preserving bees and other pollinators and on the importance of the beekeeping sector for agriculture.” 

 

Minister Dejan Židan concluded by saying that the World Bee Day joins and links the world. “This is of particular importance in these times of political instability and economic volatility,” added Minister Židan. 

 

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Speech by Minister Dejan Židan:

 

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen, distinguished representatives, 

 

It is my great honour to acquaint you with Slovenia’s initiative addressed to the United Nations, to proclaim 20 May as World Bee Day. According to the experts, there are 20,000 different bee species on our planet, of which the honey-bee is the best known. All of them are of the utmost importance for preserving the natural balance to which bees contribute by pollinating plants. The fact is that especially bees and other pollinators play an important role in providing food security, which is one of the objectives of sustainable development. In this regard, we should bear in mind that at a global level, in recent 50 years, agriculture has become increasingly dependent on pollination. Or, to illustrate this, every third forkful of the food produced in the world depends on bee pollination.

Slovenia believes that, by celebrating a special day dedicated to bees and via this, to other pollinators as well, we would, at the global level, contribute significantly to raising the general public’s awareness on the importance of preserving bees and other pollinators and on the importance of the beekeeping sector for agriculture. This is especially poignant in light of the fact that recently bees have become increasingly endangered. Bees and other pollinators actually are of immeasurable value from economic, social and environmental aspects. 

 

Economic aspect – agriculture and workplaces

  • As regards the economic aspect, agricultural production independent of pollination has doubled in the past 50 years, whereas agricultural production dependent on pollination has quadrupled within the same period.
  • A recent FAO study shows that pollination is the agricultural practice that is the single most important contributor to agricultural yield. Indirectly, bees and other pollinators are an important source of income to farmers, especially small farmers and family farms, in particular in developing countries. 
  • An aspect that may not be neglected is also the fact that in this way numerous workplaces are preserved and new ones generated. 

Social aspect – ensuring food security

  • This function is a prerequisite for a successful agricultural production ensuring food security. An international study carried out in 2008 estimated pollination to be worth 153 billion euros a year worldwide and 22 billion in Europe alone.
  • As much as one-third of the food produced in the world depends on pollination. According to an FAO assessment, pollination is needed in 71% of plant species grown for human food. Yet another important fact: From these crops 90% of all food is produced.
  • Pollination is also important for other plants which are used for biofuels, fibres, medicine, fodder and construction materials.

Environmental aspects – the provision of ecological balance and biotic diversity

  • In addition to the abovementioned, their role in contributing to the preservation of the ecological balance and biodiversity in nature should be mentioned. Protecting and conserving biodiversity and related ecosystem services prevent the loss of biodiversity and degradation of ecosystem services.
  • Bees are also a good indicator of environmental conditions. By monitoring bees’ development and health conditions it can be established when there is something going on in the environment that requires action.
  • Recently the bees have been increasingly endangered, which is confirmed also by the reports of world recognized organizations (the United Nations Report and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Report).

International aspect – sustainable development objectives 

  • By celebrating World Bee Day, we would draw the attention of the world public and decision makers to the importance of the bee preservation and via this enhance the reflection on the fact of how much we depend on bees and other pollinators. 
  • This way we would strengthen our common care for bees and beekeeping. Through international cooperation we can achieve better results in protection of bees and the development of beekeeping.

It is also our moral obligation that, with your support, we ensure a clean and healthy environment to our future generations and enable them to have diverse and healthy food available. In this, bees and other pollinators play an important role. Their contribution in the fight against climatic changes is also not insignificant. Last year, state leaders undertook all these commitments named “sustainable development goals”.

 

Do join us in ensuring vital agriculture, sustainable beekeeping and healthy environment. Let me conclude with these words: “World Bee Day joins us and connects the world.” This is of particular importance in these times of political instability and economic volatility.