On World Bee day, human activity blamed for falling pollinator numbers

FAO/Alessia Pierdomenico A participant at World Bee Day, held at FAO headquarters in Rome to raise awareness on the role of bees and pollinators in food and agriculture, captures a photo of a bee observation hive. (20 May 2019)   

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.


If you think you’re busy, then spare a thought for the world’s bees; for they, along with other insects and animals, are responsible for pollinating more than 75 per cent of the planet’s favourite food crops.

The problem is, pollinators are under threat, and their numbers are falling because of human impact. We are likely losing some species forever, FAO believes, based on available data in the U.S and Europe.

It’s a warning that the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization, FAO, highlighted on World Bee Day, which is observed on Monday 20 May.

“It’s really a culmination of factors kind of all coming together, all of which are driven by human activity,” said FAO agriculture officer Abram Bicksler. “So climate change is a factor, habitat loss is a factor, the overuse of pesticides is a big factor, but also there are many diseases and pests that are affecting our pollinators and so when those are taken together, yes, pollinators are really facing a hard time.”

According to FAO, the most popular pollinators are bees, and there are between 25,000 to 30,000 species.

The UN Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed, gave the keynote address at UN Headquarters in New York, as part of a celebratory event marking the Day.

Wild bees are more prolific pollinators than the domestic species, owing to the fact that they have more fur for pollen particles to cling to when they go in search of it.

Without bees and other pollinators – butterflies, hummingbirds, bats and even monkeys, among others – FAO says that we wouldn’t have coffee, apples, almonds, tomatoes and cocoa, among many other fruit and seed-producing crops.

In a call to protect bees and other pollinators, the FAO underscored their key role in keeping the planet healthy by conserving biodiversity – a cornerstone of the Sustainable Development Goals, and a key element in building resilience in farming ecosystems to climate change.

“World Bee Day presents an opportunity to recognize the role of beekeeping, bees and other pollinators in increasing food security, improving nutrition and fighting hunger, as well as in providing key ecosystem services for agriculture,” said FAO Director-General Jose Graziano da Silva.

To find out more, listen to this FAO podcast about the importance of bees:

In an appeal to members of the public to help tackle the threat to bees and other pollinators posed by invasive insects, pesticides, land-use change and monocropping practices – which may reduce available nutrients for bee colonies – FAO recommends planting a variety of bee-friendly flowers.

It also encourages people to create their very own insect hotel – a hollow-ended tree trunk or branch, for instance – which is an ideal shelter for insect pollinators.

“The big thing is promoting their habitat,” said FAO’s Mr. Bicksler. “You can also talk to your policy-makers and share about the importance of these in pollinators for food security, for reducing poverty, and also for the production the things you love, like beeswax and honey.”

Celebrated for the first time in 2018, the date chosen for World Bee Day – 20 May – is no accident; it was chosen to coincide with the birthday of Anton Janša, a pioneer of modern apiculture from Slovenia.

Mr. Janša came from a family of beekeepers in a country where beekeeping is an important agricultural activity with a long-standing tradition, FAO said in a press release.

The idea for World Bee Day was promoted by the Republic of Slovenia, with the support of Apimondia, the International Federation of Beekeepers’ Associations and FAO.

World Bee Day was approved by the United Nations General Assembly in 2017 and celebrated for the first time last year. Here’s a look back at the piece our UN Video team made a year ago for UN News.                 

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

The UK is on a record-breaking run of coal-free power

The Mobile World Congress in Shanghai will take place on 27-29 June 2018

‘Open, cordial, and frank discussions’ held over future Somalia-UN relationship

From Sweden to India, School climate strikes have gone global

Health Committee MEPs back plans to boost joint assessment of medicines

This one small change could transform education for millions

Tax crimes: special committee calls for a European financial police force

This plastic drinks bottle is made from plants

We need to measure innovation better. Here’s how

3 ways activists are being targeted by cyberattacks

SDGs and the historical and economic impact on Brazilian health

Can China deal with climate change without the U.S.?

UN rights expert calls for end to ‘purgatory’ of ‘international inaction’ facing Myanmar’s remaining Rohingya

A Europe that protects: Continued efforts needed on security priorities

Indigenous peoples ‘lag behind on all social and economic indicators’: UN deputy human rights chief

Nearly 180,000 displaced by northeast Syria fighting as needs multiply: UN refugee agency

Heat-resistant crops, ‘green’ infrastructure, can prepare Near East and North Africa to better tackle droughts – UN agency

The MWC14 Sting Special Edition

The punishment gap: how workplace mistakes hurt women and minorities most

Toni Morrison: 10 quotes you should know

EU Youth Goals – we are shapers not listeners

How the digital economy is shaping a new Bangladesh

Tech must embrace teamwork to transform the world

The anti-vaccine movement shows the peril of a post-truth world

This is why AI has a gender problem

We need greater protection for our oceans. We can’t let politics stand in the way

Ingredients for a new life: how cooking helps refugees and migrants blend in

8th Euronest Assembly: the future of relations with Eastern partners

The next 48 hours may change the European Union

European Parliament and Eurovision sign partnership for European Elections

WEF Davos 2016 LIVE: “We need more Schengen but reinforce control!”, France’s Minister of Economy Emmanuel Macron emphasises from Davos

EU and Mercosur reach agreement on trade

Does the sharing economy truly know how to share?

Execution of juvenile offender in Iran ‘deeply distressing’ – UN rights chief

Preferential tariffs to help Western Sahara to develop

Economic sentiment and business climate stagnate in miserable euro area

Youth unemployment: think out of the box

Baku forum to push back against ‘rise of hate’ with strong call for cultural and religious tolerance, says UN official

Satellites and data are going to help us phase out fossil fuels. Here’s how

Draghi: Germany has to spend if Eurozone is to exit recession

The Ukrainian crisis to destabilize Europe and the world for a long time

From Israel’s ‘start-up nation’, 4 lessons in innovation

Sahel States need international support ‘now more than ever’– UN peacekeeping chief

Still recovering from devastating cyclones, Mozambique, in UN address, warns of global warming’s ‘nefarious consequences’

Idea of ‘homogenous’ Polish culture is a myth: UN human rights expert

The 8 pieces of digital DNA we need to thrive in the AI age

Dramatic drop in South Sudan political violence since peace agreement signing

World Bank President steps down, Chief Executive assumes temporary role

India’s Largest Entrepreneurship Event is Back! (23-24th August 2016)

Uneven progress on climate action at Bangkok conference

Why does the whole world want Britain to stay in the EU?

Soil erosion must be stopped ‘to save our future’, says UN agriculture agency

This is the critical number that shows when housing breaks down

The missiles fired against Damascus, Syria divided Europe deeply

MEPs urge UK to break current deadlock

Quicker freezing and confiscation of criminal assets in the EU

‘Provocative actions and inflammatory rhetoric’ destabilizing Middle East, warns top UN official

My Mothers

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s