On 12 June, his Majesty, King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands made a state visit to the Republic of Estonia, by invitation of the Estonian president Kersti Kaljulaid. At the same time, a trade programme took place to strengthen economic ties. Estonia has great expertise and experience in the field of digitization, and one of the programmes tackled the theme of digital innovation in agriculture. The minister of agriculture, nature and food quality of the Netherlands, Carola Schouten, was present for this occasion. On the 13th of June she signed a Memorandum of Understanding about structural bilateral cooperation between governments in the field of digital innovation and a sustainable use of natural resources in agriculture.
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.
Ireland is famous for their quality food, wildlife and beautiful landscape, but this would not be the case without bees. As a matter of fact, insect pollination is important for tourism, the economy, the environment and the health of the Irish. The country has 99 different bee-species. But many are in trouble. Nowadays a third of the bee population of Ireland is threatened with extinction! Therefore the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan was brought to life in 2015. And everyone can help!
Today, Colombia, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Republic of Ireland joined the Coalition of the Willing on Pollinators. By signing the declaration of Cancún they show their intent to take action and collaborate on promoting pollinators. This brings the total of signatories to twenty-one. The sixth IPBES conference in Medellin, Colombia was the backdrop for this special event.
The 17th of July 2017, as the first African country, Ethiopia signed the Declaration on the Coalition of the Willing on Pollinators. The signing was done by Melesse Maryo (PhD), Director General of the Ethiopian Biodiversity Institute, accompanied by Fedeke Woldeyes (PhD).
From Holland, the head of the bureau of the Coalition Baud Schoenmaeckers witnessed the signing.
A small but important step on CoP 13 on Biological Diversity
Perhaps not of the biggest international political importance, but one of the highlights of the Conference of the Parties on Biodiversity was the set up and signing of the Declaration on the Coalition of the Willing on Pollinators. Thirteen countries signed in Mexico and many countries, organisations and businesses want to join. “The declaration is a good start in worldwide protection of pollinators since they are not bind by borders”, one of the signatories declared.