World Bee Day: Celebrating the Role of Bees in Our Ecosystem

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World Bee Day: Celebrating the Role of Bees in Our Ecosystem
FILE: this image is used solely for representational purpose (photo credit: greenpeace)

Today, 20 May, the world celebrates World Bee Day, an international event dedicated to recognizing the critical role bees and other pollinators play in sustaining our ecosystem.

World Bee Day marks the birth anniversary of Anton Jansa, a pioneer of modern beekeeping born in 1734. With support from the Slovenian Government and NGO Apimondia, the United Nations General Assembly adopted this day to honor the importance of bees and other pollinators. Since its inception on 20 May, 2018, this day has been celebrated for six consecutive years.

The United Nations established World Bee Day in 2017 to emphasize the essential role bees play in food security, biodiversity, and sustainable agriculture. Bees contribute to the biodiversity on which we all depend for survival by providing high-quality food products such as honey, royal jelly, and pollen, as well as beeswax, propolis, and bee venom.

The importance of bees to human societies is highlighted in sacred passages across all major religions, as noted in the landmark 2019 report from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). Beekeeping is also a vital source of income for many rural livelihoods. According to IPBES, the western honey bee is the most widespread managed pollinator globally, with over 80 million hives producing an estimated 1.6 million tonnes of honey annually.

Pollinators, particularly bees, directly contribute to food security. Experts at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations state that a third of the world’s food production depends on bees. When bees and other pollinators spread pollen, they enable plants, including many food crops, to reproduce, thus supporting biodiversity and sustainable agriculture.

Each year, World Bee Day is celebrated in various ways to spread awareness and support for bees and beekeeping. Activities include visiting local beekeepers to learn about their work, setting up small bee farms in gardens or terraces, dressing up as bees and participating in bee-related competitions, and supporting beekeeping charities and organizations dedicated to bee conservation.

By supporting bee conservation efforts and promoting sustainable agriculture, citizens have the opportunities to help protect the vital pollinators and express appreciation for the prosperity of the ecosystem.