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Susan Smith Kline
By observing World Bee Day each year, we can raise awareness of the essential role bees and other pollinators play in keeping people and the planet healthy, and on the many challenges they face today. World Bee Day has been celebrated since 2018, thanks to the efforts of the Government of Slovenia with the support of Apimondia, which led the UN General Assembly to declare May 20th as World Bee Day.
The date for this observance was chosen as it was the day Anton Janša, a pioneer of modern apiculture, (apiculture is the scientific method of rearing honeybees) was born. Janša came from a family of beekeepers in Slovenia, where beekeeping is an important agricultural activity with a long-standing tradition.
Today bees, pollinators, and many other insects are declining in abundance. This day provides an opportunity for all of us, whether we work for governments, organizations, or civil society or are concerned citizens, to promote actions that will protect and enhance pollinators and their habitats, improve their abundance and diversity, and support the sustainable development of beekeeping.
For centuries bees, among the hardest working creatures on the planet, have benefited people, plants, and the environment. By carrying pollen from one flower to another, bees and other pollinators enable not only the production of an abundance of fruits, nuts, and seeds but also more variety and better quality, contributing to food security and nutrition.
Pollination has a positive impact on the environment in general, helping to maintain biodiversity and the vibrant ecosystems upon which agriculture and humanity depend. A wide variety of plants critical to human well-being and livelihoods require pollinators. Close to 75 percent of the world’s crops producing fruits and seeds for human use depend, at least in part, on pollinators.
World Bee Day 2023 calls for global action to support pollinator-friendly agricultural production and highlights the importance of protecting bees and other pollinators, particularly through evidence-based agricultural production practices.