December 21, 2017
The United Nations unanimously adopted a resolution last night, which makes May 20 World Bee Day. The initiative was launched in 2014 by the Slovenian Beekeeping Association, and May 20 is the date on which Anton Janša, one of the world’s first developers and teachers of apiculture, was born in 1734.
“For one kilogram of honey, a bee has to visit four million of flowers and fly a distance equal to that four times travel around the world,” began the UN resolution announcement on yesterday's TV news show Odmevi by Rosvita Pesek, the show’s host.
The President of the Beekeepers' Association Boštjan Noč said that the announcement is the conclusion of only the first round of efforts in this regard. Aside from Janša’s birthday, Slovenia proposed that World Bee Day be marked in May when the bees in the northern hemisphere are most active, and also reproduce, while at the same time the need for pollination is greatest. At this time it is autumn in the southern hemisphere, and thus the harvesting of honey.
UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) data show that bees and other pollinators play an invaluable role when it comes to human food security: one third of all food that is produced in the world depends on pollination.
Yet studies show that the populations of bees and other pollinators are in constant decline, and moving towards the growing group of endangered animal species. This is due to a number of factors, all resulting from human activities: intensive agriculture, wide use of pesticides and waste pollution. Because of the growing human population, the bees’ habitat is shrinking, bees are exposed to new diseases and pests, and their survival is increasingly endangered by climate change.
The UN resolution was met with delight in the small municipality of Žirovnica, were Anton Janša was born and where World Bee Day is seen as an opportunity for the development of tourism. So far Anton Janša's original beehive has been restored, and the bee park will be built next year.
Beehive of Anton Janša
The first celebration on May 20 next year will be a major logistical challenge for the small town, with 4,000 to 5,000 people expected to participate, including some high-level delegations. Apart from the ceremonial part of the event, an international meeting of agricultural ministers and conference on the protection of bees will also take place. Alongside the World Bee Day preparations. a program of excellence in beekeeping has been created, and preparations for establishment of the beekeeping academy have been launched.