First World Bee Day celebrated in Slovenia

The originally ‘plain’ 20th of May has from this year onwards turned into a special day, on which awareness about the importance of bees and other pollinators for humankind is spread around the world. On 20 December last year, the United Nations General Assembly in New York unanimously adopted the decision to proclaim 20 May World Bee Day. Initiator of this memorable development is the Slovenian Beekeeping Association. The proclamation of an annual World Bee Day is a diplomatic success for Slovenia, according to the Slovenian minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food, Dejan Židan.

Not only is World Bee Day a moment to spread knowledge and awareness, but it must also be seen as an opportunity to address the challenges facing bee conservation, and to outline specific activities to ensure their survival. Therefore, the 1st annual World Bee Day, hosted by Slovenia, consisted of a series of events.

Programme World Bee Day 2018

The programme commenced on the 19th of May, with an international beekeeping conference on the global challenges facing the profession and in the evening a celebration was held to mark the unveiling of a statue of the “Carniolan grey” honey-bee. In addition, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food organised an international ministerial conference on the importance of bees and other pollinators, which concluded with the adoption by the ministers of a political declaration committing them to strengthening international cooperation in relation to measures to protect bees and other pollinators, raising public awareness, providing education about the issues and sharing good beekeeping practice.

The main celebrations took place on the 20th of May in Žirovnica. For an overview of the festivities please take a look at the World Bee Day website.

Commemorative coin

To memorize the first World Bee Day a public competition was held to design a special coin, with a value of 2 euros. The design of the winner of the competition, Janez Bizjak, was inspired by the world of bees, using the motif of a globe in the form of a honeycomb. Subsequently, the coin was created by the Bank of Slovenia and entered normal circulation throughout Europe.

Slovenian efforts on pollinator-conservation

In Slovenia bee conservation and sustainable farming and living are topics frequently discussed. The efforts of the republic are part of the global drive to combat hunger, from which 815 million people worldwide suffer. Slovenia recognizes that the conservation of bees and other pollinators is extremely important in resolving hunger problems. The proclamation of World Bee Day is a fruitful start in reaching the goals Slovenia wishes to set for the future.

The aim of Slovenia is twofold: at the European level Slovenia wishes to see bees declared an endangered species, so the necessary measures for their conservation can be taken that are currently not possible. The other goal to prepare a Programme of Excellence in Beekeeping and the establishment of an international beekeeping academy. This will allow experts to share apicultural knowledge and offer it to all those who wish to benefit from it.

In sum, the World Bee Day marks an important step in the worldwide, national and local policies on the conservation of bees and other pollinators which are indispensable for humankind.

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