Bees and Pollinators: A Commonwealth Concern
People and governments are busy as bees as the Commonwealth visits Malta to explore resilience, food security, climate change and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). But where are the bees, asks People’s Forum delegate, Paul de Zylva?
Resilience is the word on everyone’s lips here starting with a powerful opening speech by Vandana Shiva.
Bees and pollinators are not on the official programme but a report being launched at the CHOGM / CPF – see below – shows that serious exploration of resilience is incomplete without action to reverse the decline of our bees and pollinators.
For example, the food, medicines and materials we use every day come from the plants species they pollinate.
And 70% of the world’s 124 main crops depends on pollination by bees and other beneficial insects.
Malta is a good place to highlight bees and pollinators. The name of the islands comes from the Greek word ‘meli’, meaning ‘honey’.
The wild bees here are vital for maintaining the range of plants and quality of crops grown here. Malta even has a special type of honey bee found only here.
Malta’s National Apiculture Programme recognises the role of bees in the islands’ culture, crop production and diversity of wild plants.
Bee and pollinator decline is a global and national concern.
And governments in the UK are responding to growing public and political concern about bee and pollinator decline by launching national bee and pollinator strategies.
Imagine if the Commonwealth’s 50+ members took similar strides?
Across Asia, Africa and Europe to the Caribbean and Americas and the Pacific there could be globe-spanning action to boost bees and protect pollinators.
A timely new report, Bees and Pollinators: A Commonwealth Concern launched at the CHOGM and CPF by the Commonwealth Human Ecology Council (CHEC) and Friends of the Earth shows how action for bees and pollinators could take off from Malta around the Commonwealth.
The report examines how pollinators under-pin food security, rural farming and economies and are also relevant to urban development, the greening of cities and the delivery of the SDGs.
Case studies from 10 Commonwealth member states shows both the plight of pollinators and some of the action already underway to address this.
Trying to answer questions about how to build and maintain resilience without bees and pollinators is like trying to make tea without boiling water.
Put another way, as the report states: A world without bees? Unimaginable!