The fourth observance of World Bee Day

Published: 20.5.2021

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The fourth observance of World Bee Day

The main purpose of World Bee Day, which is celebrated on 20 May, is to raise awareness about the significance of the bees and other pollinators for humanity.

The fourth observance of World Bee Day

On 20 December 2017, the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN) declared 20 May World Bee Day. The initiative came from Slovenia. The date selected was the birthday of the Anton Janša, the pioneer of beekeeping. Janša was the first beekeeping teacher in the court of the Habsburg Empress Maria Theresa. By introducing beekeeping methods that were successfully used by Carniolan beekeepers, he caused a real revolution in beekeeping of the time. Among other things, he introduced honey flow, re-defined the role of drones, and wrote all of his findings in two books, which are still a useful manual for many beekeepers.

Beekeeping is deeply rooted in the Slovenian consciousness. Slovenia is one of the leading EU countries in terms of the number of beekeepers per capita, and the Carniolan honeybee, a native bee species in Slovenia, is one of the most widespread honeybees in the world. The well-preserved natural environment offers good conditions for beekeeping.

The main purpose of World Bee Day is to raise awareness about the significance of the bees and other pollinators for humanity. In addition, this is also an opportunity for experts, politicians, members of the economy and the general public to discuss the challenges related to conserving bees and define actions to ensure their survival.

The fourth observance of World Bee Day was celebrated - in the midst of a still ongoing pandemic - with a virtual event organized by the FAO on 20 May 2021 under the theme “Bee engaged – Build Back Better for Bees”. The event called for global cooperation and solidarity to counter the threats posed by the COVID-19 pandemic to food security and agricultural livelihoods alongside prioritizing environmental regeneration and pollinator protection.

In addition, the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme and Guerlain held the webiner on ther initiative to train and support 50 women beekeepers within the World Network of Biosphere Reserves to maintain and develop their know-how in 25 biosphere reserves. Actor, film maker and humanitarian activist Angelina Jolie is the godmother of the project, helping promote its twin objectives of women’s empowerment and biodiversity conservation and sustainable use. The webinar presented the values and approach of UNESCO-MAB Programme for reconciling human beings with the rest of the living. Also two Slovenian beekeepers participated in the webinar; Ms. Patricija Vrenko and Ms. Ivana Kovačević, who are part of the UNESCO network of women beekeepers. They shared their local experience and perspectives, as well as expectations on the programme.

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