In an initiative by the Office of the President of the General Assembly, three beehives were installed on the grounds of United Nations headquarters in New York (UN Photo/Mark Garten)

If you walk along the grounds at UNHQ in New York, you may see a resident of one of three new honeybee colonies, pollinating the Rose Garden and producing 250 pounds of honey per year.

The President of the General Assembly, Peter Thomson, was on hand to officially welcome three colonies of honeybees to UN Headquarters as part of the UN’s ongoing greening efforts. The rescued swarms of Apis mellifiera linguistica (Italian honeybees) were given to the United Nations by Bees Without Borders, a non-profit focused on beekeeping endeavours to help alleviate poverty.

The hives are composed of 99% female bees which lay up to 2,000 eggs per day. Together, the three hives, which comprise rescued swarms from New York (Queens and Brooklyn) and Connecticut, will produce approximately 250 pounds of honey per year.

“This moment is another step in our commitment at the United Nations to implement the Sustainable Development Goals. Three hives may not seem like a lot to you, but this is going to grow into 200,000 bees in this colony here,” said President Thomson.

Andrew Cote, founder of Bees Without Boarders, is a fourth-generation beekeeper. He was accompanied by his family and three young beekeeping associates, one of whom also designed the logo featured on the white and blue beehives.

Cote said, “We work with families all over the world in hopes to use beekeeping as a means to alleviate poverty.”

Thanks to Bees Without Borders the United Nations bees-in-residence will be cared for on a weekly basis.

President Thomson was also joined by Stephen Cutts, Assistant Secretary-General of the Office of Central Support Services, who coordinated the Secretariat arrangements for this initiative, and Maher Nasser, Acting Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications, Department of Public Information.

“I am proud of the role that the Secretariat has played in ensuring the realization of the President’s initiative, and in welcoming these bees to the recently restored North Lawn,” Mr. Cutts said.


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