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UN's Food and Agriculture Organization and Embassy of Slovenia marking first World Bee Day in Washington DC

On Thursday, May 24, 2018; Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN in Washington DC and the Embassy of Slovenia in the US have partnered to mark the occasion of the first World Bee Day with a round table discussion titled "A Call for Global Action". The event started off with a short film presentation commissioned by the FAO and Slovenian Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry "Imagine a world without bees" and was attended by representatives of governments, NGOs, research centers, artists, beekeepers and general public.   

Mr. Vimlendra Sharan, Director, FAO Liaison Office for North America, highlighted the importance of bees and other pollinators for sustainable agriculture, improving food security and fighting hunger. He emphasized importance of multinational guidelines and national policies that will need to appropriately address all issues concerning large declines in populations in recent years and what needs to be done in order to secure their and our survival for the future. He thanked Slovenia for its initiative of adopting the World bee Day at the UN, to raise awareness about bees as the ambassadors of all pollinators.

The Ambassador of Slovenia Mr. Stanislav Vidovič, that followed with a keynote remarks, first recognized the key role of Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations that have supported the initiative from its inception to fruition last December at the General Assembly. He touched upon Slovenian view of bees and pollinators in general for its diverse agriculture and biodiversity, as well as the importance to keep survival of pollinators on the top of the agenda on the world stage. He continued that a call for a global action needs to encompass wide spectrum of actors and we have to do more to connect beekeepers with science institutes for research and development, a broad spectrum of NGOs, national governments to develop and implement appropriate policies but also crucially include industries, in particular agricultural sector, which will eventually need to adopt more sustainable practices.

A number of panelists and other representatives participated in a lively discussion that was moderated by Nabeeha M. Kazi, President & CEO, Humanitas Global, including Val Dolcini President & CEO of the Pollinator Partnership, Leda Huta, Executive Director of the Endangered Species Coalition, Dr. Jay Evans, Research Leader of the USDA-ARS Bee Research Lab as well as Carolina Starr from the FAO Rome office via video-link. The discussion centered from what can be done on the local basis to increase habitat for pollinators, including many thousand species of American wild-bees to how to engage with NGOs or science centers or go about adopting the right policies that will have meaningful results. The panelists agreed that to promote coordinated world-wide action, more uniformly collected data is needed from all the regions of the world to analyze what is happening and look for solutions. So far only about 40 countries are complying with the FAO guidelines. By the end of this year FAO aims that member states will adopt an Action Plans for the protection of pollinators and sustainable agriculture that will ensure not only survival of bees and pollinators but also protection, ensuring they can thrive in the future. World Bee Day is an initiative that can raise public awareness of the importance of pollinators.