For centuries, bees have labored the world’s fields without gaining much recognition for their contributions to food production and biodiversity. Pollinators such as bees, birds and bats, affect 35% of the world's crop production, increasing outputs of 87 of the leading food crops worldwide, plus many plant-derived medicines.
About two-thirds of the crop plants that feed the world rely on pollination by insects or other animals to produce healthy fruits and seeds for human consumption. Despite their critical roles, bees, pollinators, and many other insects are declining in abundance, adversely impacting global food security.
The absence of pollinators would remove a variety of nutritious foods from our diets, including potatoes, pepper, coffee, pumpkins, carrots, apples, almonds and tomatoes. In this context, pollinator-friendly approaches for their crops are crucial. Actions adopted by farmers in their agricultural practices therefore impact the environment as well as all pollinators that feed on plants and crops. In areas where there is intensive agriculture, it is important for farmers and beekeepers to collaborate very closely in order to reach mutual benefits and to also safeguard the well-being of these pollinators.
To bring global attention to the importance of bees and other pollinators, the UN General Assembly in 2017 adopted by consensus a resolution declaring 20 May as World Bee Day. An inaugural celebration took place around the world in May 2018.
In order to further raise awareness of the importance of bees and to strengthen collaboration among stakeholders, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the Permanent Mission of the
Republic of Slovenia jointly organized an event in observance of World Bee Day at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on 20 May 2019.
The overall objective of the 2019 World Bee Day is to focus public attention on the role of beekeeping, bees and other pollinators in increasing food security and fighting hunger as well as in providing key ecosystem services for agriculture.
Expected outcomes Awareness raised on the key role of pollinators in food security and ecosystem services. Challenges facing pollinators identified and solutions discussed. Partnership and action opportunities identified, created and further developed to recognize and safeguard pollinators.
The one-hour event consisted of an opening addresses and a keynote speaker, followed by the screening of an informational video. In addition, beekeepers will share positive stories from their activities. The event concluded with the unveiling of the World Bee Day stamps and a visit to beehives and a newly-installed plaque located on the United Nations North Lawn.