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Recap event ‘European monitoring framework for pollinating insects’

May 30, 2024 | Events, Kenya

On the 17th of May, enthusiastic participants from all over the world joined a side event Promote Pollinators organized during the SBSTTA-26 in Nairobi. This event was hybrid, so people who were not in Nairobi joined the event online through a webinar. This hybrid event focused on European monitoring framework for pollinating insects. Participants of the webinar varied from scientists, NGO’s, entrepreneurs, teachers to policymakers.

The main purpose of the webinar was to provide inspiration by sharing knowledge on the European monitoring framework for pollinating insects. The webinar was hosted by Martijn Thijssen (secretary to Promote Pollinators). The webinar lasted about 1.5 hours and was divided into two parts: presentations and a panel discussion among experts.

Presentation 1: The view of a policymaker

Often, monitoring is meant to inform policies. But what can policies do with it? What are the requirements for the policy world when you build a monitoring system? Dr. Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias presented his views on monitoring in the context of policymaking.

He started his presentation by answering the opening question of Martijn: how do you look at monitoring from the position of a policy maker? He answered that policies need to be validated to see if they are effective, and it is not easy to evaluate the effectiveness of policies. He explained that we need data, how methodology is an issue, and that costs are involved.

“Monitoring is essential. Without monitoring we cannot assess effectiveness of the policies.”

Dr. Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias

Brazilian Ministry of Environment and Climate Change

Presentation 2: Overview of the European framework

Dr. Koos Biesmeijer presented the outline of the European framework. Pollinators are in decline. There are all kinds of actions you can take if you want to maintain them, but do these actions work? That is where monitoring comes in, Koos Biesmeijer explained. Subsequently, he explained how to set up a monitoring system. He clarified that it is a big challenge to set up a monitoring system; you need to know what scheme you need, what the requirements are and how you implement it. Once you have implemented it, you will get some insights into the fate of our pollinators and what actions are best to support them. “Because we need them”, Koos Biesmeijer concluded convincingly.

“I am very happy that in Promote Pollinators there is all these members that try to find a way to promote pollinators.”

Dr. Koos Biesmeijer

Naturalis Biodiversity Center

Presentation 3: Citizen science

Citizen science is important for good monitoring. Dr. David Roy presented the state of the art on citizens science and how this has been implemented in the European pollinator monitoring framework. He explained that citizen science has many different outcomes and benefits. It is not just about the data. It is also about the personal experience of learning, enjoying nature, leading to wellbeing and empowerment. And there is also a societal impact.

“Citizen science is very diverse, valuable, and growing rapidly.”

Dr. David Roy

UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology

Presentation 4: The urban context

Another element that was involved in this webinar is the urban environment. Dr. Katherine Baldock shared her knowledge on this topic. As a pollination ecologist, she explained why we should consider urban pollination. She discussed, among other things, the role of pollinators in urban landscapes and the impacts of urbanization on pollinators. In the end, she emphasized that urban monitoring requires careful design given the complexities of urban landscapes. She also suggested the standardized approaches across cities, countries and regions would be beneficial, enabling larger-scale comparisons of the impacts of urbanization.

“Pollinator monitoring in urban areas is crucial for understanding the impacts of urbanization on pollinators.”

Dr. Katherine Baldock

Northumbria University, UK

Presentation 5: Knowledge, skills and technology

After Katherine Baldock, Koos Biesmeijer gave his second presentation. This time, he presented the way knowledge, skills and technology have been addressed in the context of the European framework. He explained that it is important to consider what knowledge beginners, advanced individuals and others need. What skills do people need in the field and how can we integrate modern technology into our monitoring schemes?

He introduced the Pollinator Academy: https://pollinatoracademy.eu/. On this website you can find all kinds of knowledge. He also introduced novel technologies, such as cameras with AI identification and metabarcoding. “In this way, even without experts, you can still monitor”, Koos enthusiastically explained. Koos Biesmeijer reached out to those interested to explore how we can make this Pollinator Academy relevant for a context outside of Europe.

“I would be super interested to talk to you about this and see how we can progress. Because in five years, we will have a completely different talk about this, I hope.”

Dr. Koos Biesmeijer

Naturalis Biodiversity Center

Panel discussions

After the presentations, host Martijn opened the floor for the panel discussion by introducing Hien Ngo. She is a pollination ecologist and is currently working with global experts to put forward a proposal for a global pollinator platform. Hien Ngo shared a short reflection on the presentations and subsequently joined the panel discussion. The panel discussed the challenges and barriers encountered during development of the frameworks, and the options to deal with the barriers adequately were discussed.

Interested in the full discussion?

A recording of the complete webinar is available. Click the link below.


Which subject would you like to be discussed in the next webinar? Let us know! We appreciate your inspiration.

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