January 19, 2019

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20 May / World Bee Day

The Republic of Slovenia, on the initiative of the Slovenian Beekeepers’ Association, initiated procedures in the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)in 2015 to declare the World Bee Day.

On 20 December 2017, the United Nations General Assembly in New York unanimously adopted a resolution proclaiming 20 May as the World Bee Day. The resolution was adopted with co-sponsorship of 115 countries from all regions of the world.

The World Bee Day will be observed for the first time on 20 May 2018 and on this occasion, International Ministerial Conference will be held in Slovenia with participation of the FAO Director-General, the EU Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, and the African Union Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture among others. The goal of the observation of the World Bee Day is to raise awareness about the importance of bees and other pollinators for agriculture, the environment and the mankind.

Bees and other pollinators are priceless when it comes to ensuring the global food security. Every third spoonful of food depends on pollination. An international study estimates that the annual global food production that depends on pollination is worth between USD 235 and USD 577 billion. By pollinating agricultural plants, bees are an important source of employment and income for farmers, particularly for small family farms in developing countries. Bees also have a positive effect on the entire ecosystem, help preserve natural biodiversity and are good biological indicators of environmental conditions.

As part of the awareness-raising campaign, Slovenia designed an interactive exhibition entitled The Bee World. The pavilion was first presented to the public at the headquarters of the FAO in September 2016 and subsequently on other locations, including the Berlin’s International Green Week and the United Nations in New York in December 2017. Slovenia also launched the so-called honey breakfast. It was first organized in 2006, when Slovenian beekeepers offered children in kindergartens and schools honey for breakfast, and has since been held in many European and other countries.

Furthermore, Slovenia was among the first countries to join the initiative by the Netherlands and sign the Declaration on the Coalition of the Willing on Pollinators at the Conference of the Parties on Biodiversity in Mexico in December 2016.

Slovenia is a nation of beekeepers –with five beekeepers per 1,000 inhabitants, it stands in the front ranks globally – and beekeeping has always been an important agricultural activity with a long tradition. Slovenian beekeepers are known worldwide for their professionalism, advanced beekeeping technologies, unique Slovenian historical features, such as painted beehive front panels, apiaries and traditional beehives, and the famous Carniola bee, which is an indigenous Slovenian subspecies of honey bee and the second most widespread subspecies in the world.

The pioneer of modern beekeeping, Anton Janša (1734-1773), whose birthdate is 20 May, was one of the greatest experts in this field. He was the first teacher of modern beekeeping in the world and was appointed by the Empress Maria Theresa as a permanent teacher at the new beekeeping school in Vienna. Today, Slovenia intends to establish an international beekeeping school where beekeepers from all over the world will be educated, thereby spreading the knowledge of bees and beekeeping also in developing countries. Slovenia is the first country in the EU to have introduced legal protection for its honey bee.

Situated in the heart of Europe, Slovenia is a country between the Alps, the Mediterranean Sea, the mysterious Karst with more than 11,000 karst caves and the Pannonian Plain, rich in healthy water springs. Slovenia is the first EU country to include the right to drinking water in its Constitution. Moreover, as a green, active and healthy country, Slovenia is dedicated to the preservation of nature, environment and cultural heritage. It is the first country in the world to be declared a green destination by the Dutch Organization Green Destinations. In addition, the capital of Ljubljana was awarded the European Green Capital 2016 title.

Join us at the Slovenian Pavilion at the Embassy Festival in The Hague on 1 September 2018, where you will learn more about Slovenia and get a taste of Slovenian honey products.

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