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In response to the alarming report by the IPBES in 2016 on global pollinator decline, Slovakia also decided to join the formation of the Global Coalition for the Promotion of Pollinators as one of the first members additionally in 2017.
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Why did Slovakia decide to join the coalition?

Wild pollinators are an important part of nature and biodiversity protection and long-term and sustainable management of landscape. They pollinate a large proportion of plants also in agriculture and are significantly contributing to the agricultural production and rural development. Beekeeping is an important tradition also in Slovakia. Therefore, a basic level of awareness of the significance of bees is present in society, more focus on importance of other pollinators is although helping to understand their value and value of pollination as a natural and crucial process. People foster a high degree of positive feelings about the role of bees, but lack of deeper awareness on the role of wild pollinators is still significant and should be improved in the future.

What is the current situation regarding pollinators and pollination in Slovakia?

In Slovakia we started to protect wild pollinators already in the past mainly through protection of specific habitats and species under the Natura 2000, but protection of pollinators significantly improved as a consequence of the better implementation of the EU pollinator’s initiative from 2018. There is also ongoing monitoring of selected areas, where we study the conservation status and trends of wild bees in selected regions of Slovakia and deliver an effective scientific method for obtaining quality data for long-term monitoring of the wild pollinators’ conservation status. Monitoring is currently taking place in several regions with more than 50 test sites. Based on the acquired knowledge, targeted and effective measures could be implemented in the future to help the threatened populations in the field.

More detailed information on the philosophy of monitoring, the method of evaluation, the performance of field monitoring, the results for specific species (in addition to the standard information on the abundance and detected species on the site, other qualitative data are also collected regarding the quality of the habitat of the species, the quality of the population, future prospects) are an important element of the monitoring and data collection on impacts and threats at locations are also collected. Rhis information can be found online at www.biomonitoring.sk. A significant part of the processed assessments is also accessible in published form.

Permanent monitoring sites regularly monitored since 2013 for individual groups of pollinators in Slovakia (author of the graph: Ján Černecký)

Permanent monitoring sites regularly monitored since 2013 for individual groups of pollinators in Slovakia (author of the graph: Ján Černecký)

Initiatives for pollinator protection in Slovakia

Based on the initiative of the Ministry of the Environment of the Slovak Republic (SR) in cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of the SR, better communication and cooperation on protection of also wild pollinators has been underway since 2019. Slovakia started a series of activities focused specifically on pollinators in order to raise public awareness of their importance and assess the current state and challenges related to their better protection.

Initiatives for pollinator protection in Slovakia

The topic of better pollinators protection was also discussed at the meeting of nature protection directors of the Vyšehrad Group (+ Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania and Slovenia) in March 2019 in Smolenice, Slovakia. The discussion focused on pollinator conservation policy and practices, stakeholder´s engagement and knowledge exchange.

Initiatives for pollinator protection in Slovakia

The first stakeholders workshop with the participation of representatives of national authorities, beekeepers’ associations, nature protection organizations, etc. took place on May 14, 2019, in Bratislava. The workshop was intended to be the first step in establishing a national discussion on pollinators and creating a more systematic cooperation in the field of pollinator protection and possibly a national network of relevant stakeholders / platform for pollinators.

Initiatives for pollinator protection in Slovakia

During the discussion, it became clear that pollinators should be one of the topics that should be common to the countries of the Visegrad Group (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia), since the number of beekeepers and beehives present in these 4 countries represents 30% of all beekeepers and beehives in the EU. These figures clearly show the huge importance of this region, because it also means that the state of nature conservation, biodiversity and landscape as well as the state of plants and habitats is still relatively favourable, and their long-term protection and proper management should be one of the main goals for the future.

Initiatives for pollinator protection in Slovakia

This initiative was followed by an awareness event (May 20, 2019) to show how dependent our society is on pollinators and what a world without bees would look like for us as consumers. This event was organized by the Ministry of Environment of the Slovak Republic (MoE SR) together with Tesco, while the Minister of MoE SR together with the CEO of Tesco in Slovakia, appeared in front of almost empty shelves in the department store and pointed out what the world would look like if bees and all pollinators in the world became extinct.

Initiatives for pollinator protection in Slovakia

But the most important thing is to work closely on the implementation of the current, but especially the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) after 2020, because only with significant changes in the country and with better and sustainable management of landscape we will be able to help prevent their decline, as well as the overall protection of pollinators. All these species need a healthy environment with sufficient and diversified food sources and habitats for their life. Relevant discussions between both institutions helped to understand also the ecosystems services of pollination and protection of those habitats, which are crucial for pollinators increase.

What are Slovakia’s expectations for the future?

Slovakia aims to be a better player regarding the conservation of pollinators as well as their habitats. In the future, we will strive to enhance the conservation of wild pollinators in particular in the Natura 2000 network and protected areas, but much more also in broader agricultural surrounding, where the discussions especially from 2020 really started to focus on more “pollinators friendly” strategic plan 2023 – 2027 of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

Slovakia thus far has not drafted an independent strategy for the conservation of wild pollinators, and we will most probably do not prepare any. We will incorporate all relevant conservation measures into the updated national biodiversity strategy and action plan till 2030 and also to the management plans of relevant Natura 2000 sites that are beneficial also for pollinators.

In the near future a new CAP Strategic plan for the 2023-2027 period will be implemented, in which wild pollinators and their pollination services are included significantly as well and the main goal will be to implement them together with farmers properly. In the CAP, payments, measures and interventions, which support also pollinators protection and pollinator friendly management practices will be targeted better arising also from the SWOT analysis and needs assessment for the preparation of the CAP.

With these new requirements and measures we will acknowledge the positive impact wild pollinators have on the society and improve their conservation status. We will also try to influence the management of our landscape more positively not only for pollinators, but for nature and biodiversity purposes more generally. This will be done through the whole Green architecture of the CAP, both through the first as well as second pillar of the CAP. Fortunately, also farmers realised that several sustainable changes within the agricultural landscape will have to be changed not only for pollinators, but also for nature and biodiversity in general.

Tips for other members

The UN World Bee Day, initiated by Slovenia, aims to highlight the importance of pollinators, acknowledge the threats they face and recognize their contribution to sustainability. Slovakia warmly encourages other members to help us raise public awareness of wild pollinators by organising activities within this initiative – importance of pollinators and pollination as a process is a very good common interest, which brings better together all relevant experts and also easily helps to raise awareness raising both for nature and biodiversity field, as well as for agriculture and which is crucial, also for general public.


For more information about the story of Slovakia reach out to Eva Viestová: eva.viestova@enviro.gov.sk