Coalition of the Willing on Pollinators
Secure ecosystems, food production and economy
Pollinators play a key role in the conservation of biological diversity, ecosystems, food production and the global economy. The effects of current human activities hamper animal pollination. Promote Pollinators, the Coalition of the Willing on Pollinators, reaches out to potential new partners to develop and implement national pollinator strategies. The coalition believes that country-led politics can foster policy measures and innovative action on protecting pollinators.
Join the coalition for the conservation of pollinators and their habitats
What is the importance of pollinators?
Plants depend on pollination. Nearly ninety per cent of wild flowering plants need pollinators like bees to transfer pollen for successful sexual reproduction. In turn, these plants are critical in the functioning of ecosystems. They provide food, form habitats and provide a wide range of other resources for many animal species. Pollinators consequently play a key role in regulating ecosystem services supporting food production, habitats and natural resources.
Globally nearly 90% of wild flowering plant species depend on animal pollination
They are fundamental for the conservation of biological diversity and for the adaptation of human food production systems to climate change. Pollinators have a crucial and increasing role in the food production process. The production volume of pollinator-dependent crops has increased threefold over the last five decades, making us more dependent on pollination. These crops include fruits and vegetables and are essential for human diets and nutrition, since they provide us with vitamins and minerals.
More than 75% of leading global crop types benefit from animal pollination in production, yield and quality
Pollinators, like bees, form an important aspect in global economic systems and social activities and traditions. Around five to eight per cent of current global crop production is directly ascribed to animal pollination, which equates to somewhere between 235 and 577 billion American dollars worldwide. They also provide main resources, such as biofuels, fibres like cotton and linen, and construction materials. Socially, pollinators are embedded in local cultures and traditions. They provide resources for the creation of musical instruments, arts and crafts, but also give inspiration to art, music, literature, religions, traditions, technology and education.
Around 5-8% of current global crop production is directly ascribed to animal pollination, which equates to somewhere between 235 and 577 billion American dollars worldwide
What are the threats?
Human activities threaten pollinators. Both the abundance, diversity and health of pollinators are threatened, as well as the provision of pollination. In recent decades, climate change has altered the range, abundance and seasonal activities of some wild pollinator species. Humans have altered the natural landscape and changed land use, reducing the natural habitat of wild pollinator species. Simultaneously, environmental pollution has degraded the natural habitats. Habitat destruction, fragmentation and degradation often reduce pollinators’ food and nesting resources.
Contemporary forms of agriculture have changed the influence of pollinators with a shift to large-scale and artificial forms of pollination. Intensive agricultural management is a leading threat to pollinator species.
Pollinator-dependent crops contribute to 35% of global crop production volume
Controlled forms of pollination by managed pollinators have brought in risks. Mass breeding and large-scale transport of managed bees contributed to an enhanced transmission of parasites and pathogens. This spreads diseases across the entire community of both wild and managed pollinators. Additionally, it increases the occurrence of more dangerous pathogens, alien species invasions and regional extinction of native species.
Observations of decline
Despite the challenges to providing insight into the extent of the threat to pollinators and to provide exact numbers, research shows declines in abundance and diversity. In Northwest Europe and North America, the occurrence and diversity of wild pollinators have declined at local and regional scales. Vertebrate pollinator species such as birds and bats, but also primates, lizards and rodents are declining. According to The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) almost seventeen per cent of the vertebrate pollinators are threatened with global extinction, increasing to as much as thirty per cent on islands.
Such numbers are not available for insect pollinators, but regional and national assessments indicate high levels of threat for some bees and butterflies. National Red List Assessments show that often more than forty per cent of bee species are threatened. In Europe, nine per cent of the bee and butterfly species available for research are threatened and thirty-seven per cent of bee populations are declining. The population decline of butterflies is thirty-one per cent.
In Europe 37% of bee populations are declining
Leading global crop types are visited by
- More than 90% by bees
- Around 30% by flies
- Less than 6% by other taxa, such as birds, bats, primates, lizards and rodents
About the coalition
Promote Pollinators, the Coalition of the Willing on Pollinators, believes that country-led politics can foster policy measures and innovative action on protecting pollinators. National pollinator strategies are an important tool for the conservation of pollinators. The coalition is reaching out to new partners with the aim of continuously expanding our common efforts and sharing knowledge and innovations.
- taking action to protect pollinators and their habitats by developing and implementing national pollinator strategies, consistent with the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) thematic assessment (pdf) on pollinators, pollination and food production;
- sharing experience and lessons learnt in developing and implementing national pollinator strategies, especially knowledge on new approaches, innovations and best practices;
- reaching out to seek collaboration with a broad spectrum of stakeholders;
- developing research on pollinator conservation;
- mutual support and collaboration.
Flowering plants depending on animal pollination for sexual reproduction
- Globally: 87.5%
- Tropical ecosystems: 94%
- Temperate ecosystems: 78%
Essentials for national pollinator strategies
The main ambitions are to improve current conditions for pollinators and maintain pollination, to transform agricultural landscapes and to transform society’s relationship with nature.
To stop and reverse the decline of pollinators, countries can for example:
- apply ecological intensification, which is an agricultural process making maximum use of ecological processes
- promote sustainable agricultural practices, such as organic farming
- improve control and management of pollinators and hygiene to reduce risks from pests, pathogens and invasive alien species
- reward farmers or land managers for pollinator-friendly practices
- restore natural habitats, also in urban areas, and plant flower strips
- invest in ecological infrastructure to eliminate habitat destruction and fragmentation
- apply better regulation of trade and use of managed bees
- improve landscape-scale habitat diversity, reverse simplification of agricultural landscapes and strengthen diversified farming systems. Potential agricultural management methods include: crop rotation including flowering crops, intercropping, control of invasive species and agroforestry
- improve governance for more effective implementation of actions