UN agency launches scheme to protect bees, birds and other pollinators

8 August 2008 –

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) announced today that it will implement a new initiative to better protect bees, bats, birds and others that are essential to global crop production and biodiversity.

The five-year, $26 million scheme is designed to tackle the recent decline – and, in some cases, near collapse – of important pollinator populations around the world, such as honey bees. Disease, pesticides, habitat loss and the introduction of exotic species are all thought to be responsible in part.

Pollinators such as bees, as well as bats, butterflies, birds and even mosquitoes, play a vital role in food production because they transfer pollen between seed plants, affecting more than a third of the world’s agricultural crops. Farmers and consumers are thus dependent on healthy pollinator populations.

Under the initiative, best management practices for maintaining and protecting pollinator species will be introduced worldwide and countries and regions will be given assistance to help them protect pollinators.

The scheme is being funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and also coordinated by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

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