Slovenia proposed that the United Nations (UN) proclaim 20 May as World Bee Day. On 20 December 2017, following three years of efforts at the international level, the UN Member States unanimously approved Slovenia’s proposal, thus proclaiming 20 May as World Bee Day. 

The purpose of the www.worldbeeday.org website is to present the initiative and its implementation, raise awareness of the importance of bees and beekeeping, inform the public of major beekeeping events around the world and celebrate World Bee Day.

 

No life without bees

In addition to being one of the major pollinators, thus ensuring food and food security, sustainable agriculture and biodiversity, bees significantly contribute to the mitigation of climate change and environmental conservation. In the long-term, the protection of bees and the beekeeping sector can help reduce poverty and hunger, as well as preserve a healthy environment and biodiversity. Scientific studies have proven that bees have become increasingly endangered.  It is only through joint efforts that we can ensure the protection of bees and their habitats.

 

 

The three-year path towards the proclamation of World Bee Day

For this reason the Slovenian Beekeepers’ Association launched the initiative in 2014, advocating that 20 May becomes World Bee Day. The initiative was supported by the Slovenian Government, which strove to realise it.

In September 2015, the initiative was backed by the largest international beekeepers’ organisation,  Apimondia (press release).

In the framework of this initiative, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food travelled around the world with a pavilion Bee World and actively promoted and provided information on the initiative as well as other related projects. The Ministry also held a number of bilateral meetings with representatives of other countries and international organisations, and organised various events for experts.

On 17 November 2017, after more than three years of effort, the UN’s Economic and Financial Committee adopted a resolution proclaiming World Bee Day. On 20 December 2017, the resolution was unanimously backed by the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York, thus designating 20 May as World Bee Day.

The initiative was supported by all UN states, while 115 countries also acted as co-sponsors, including major countries such as the USA, Canada, China, Russia, India, Brazil, Argentina, Australia, and all EU Member States.

 

“After three years of efforts in terms of both the official procedures at the UN and with regard to the intensive process of informing countries around the world, we have succeeded with this initiative. Bees and other pollinators finally have the place they deserve in view of their importance for the world and for humanity.

The proclamation of World Bee Day proves that the willingness to take action does exist. I am delighted that the realisation of the importance of bees for sustainable development and the future of humanity in general is reflected in the consensual support for the resolution. This is just the beginning of the difficult process of protecting bees and other pollinators.

For success, we must bring on board the governments of all countries, the business community, and civil society. Awareness of the vital importance of saving bees must reach every individual. And we must do more than just talk – we must undertake concrete activities to increase care for bees and promote the development of beekeeping – everywhere, including in developing countries” 

Dejan Židan, head of the World Bee Day project and Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia, upon the proclamation of World Bee Day on 20 December 2017

 

“Bees play a crucial role in increasing crop yields and promoting food security and nutrition.

Without them, we could lose a wide variety of food, such as potatoes, pepper, coffee, pumpkins, carrots, apples, almonds, and tomatoes, just to name a few.

In short, without bees, the FAO cannot achieve a world without hunger. World Bee Day recognises the importance of these tiny helpers and will increase awareness of the need to protect them.”

 

“I believe that we all agree that every human being on this planet deserves food every day. We have to produce more food every day, and every day more food is dependent on pollinators – with honey bees in the lead. Talking about reducing global hunger without ensuring the conditions for the survival of bees and other pollinators would simply be like throwing sand in people's eyes!

It is time for everyone to listen to bees, in particular, leaders and decision-makers. From today on, 20 May will be a worldwide celebration of bees and beekeepers. I believe that – with the proclamation of World Bee Day – the world will begin to think more broadly about bees, in particular in the context of ensuring conditions for their survival, and thus for the survival of the human race.”

Boštjan Noč, author of the World Bee Day initiative and President of the Slovenian Beekeepers' Association

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