FAO Liaison Office with the European Union and the Kingdom of Belgium

EU Pollinator Week – a new deal for pollinators


On the opening day of EU Pollinator Week, FAO Chief Scientist Ismahane Elouafi joined a high-level panel discussion on ‘A New EU Deal for Pollinators’ where she spoke alongside EU Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans and Slovenia’s Minister for Agriculture Jože Podgoršek. The week to celebrate the planet’s pollinators has been organized by Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) under the chairmanship of MEP Martin Hojsík and the non-governmental organization BeeLife European Beekeeping Coordination.

Opening the discussion, Vice-President Timmermans stressed the crucial role of pollinators for health and ecosystems viability. “There is an urgency to address the key drivers of pollinators’ decline and do more to protect pollinators’ habitat,” he said. The European Commission official briefed the audience on European Union initiatives to step up action for pollinator protection, such as the EU’s Biodiversity Strategy for 2030, its upcoming nature restoration targets, as well as efforts to create greener cities and revive the EU Pollinators Initiative.

FAO Chief Scientist Elouafi noted that recent studies confirmed the decline of wild pollinators – 25 percent fewer species were reported between 2006 and 2015 than before the 1990s. In Europe, 1 in 3 bee and butterfly species has a declining population and 1 in 10 is threatened with extinction. These figures could lead to increases in micronutrient deficiencies across various regions.

FAO’s engagement on pollinators and the conservation of pollinator services includes capacity-building and efforts to promote pollinator-friendly practices. The organization actively explores local knowledge and practices, in addition to building greater diversity of pollinator habitats in the context of the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables, as well as through the International Pollinator Initiative and the One Health approach.

Moving forward, greater collaboration between national governments, international organizations, academia and researchers is needed, said Elouafi, to protect the valuable role of pollinators in contributing to food security.

More than three-quarters of the world’s crops producing fruits and seeds for human consumption depend, at least in part, on pollinators for sustained production, yield and quality. The annual economic value of pollinator services to food production is estimated to be close to USD 600 billion.

You can read more about the EU Pollinator Week here.

You can read more about FAO’s Global Action on Pollination Services for Sustainable Agriculture here.