Over the past decades, both wild and domesticated insect pollinators are in dramatic decline, which puts at stake the existence of species, ecosystem resilience and global food security. Globally, 87 of major food crops depend on animal pollination. Together these account for 35 % of the world food production volume. Pollinator mediated crops are indispensable for essential micronutrients in the human diet. Many ornamental plants as well as crops for fibre, fodder, biofuels, timber and phytopharmaceuticals also depend on insect pollinators. This article aims to map the current situation of pollinators worldwide, with a focus on the critical role of pollinators in the human food chain and ecosystem sustainability, their intrinsic and extrinsic value, as well as the causes of their declines and the interventions needed to conserve them, in order to develop an argument for the importance of conserving and restoring pollinator populations and diversity. The present pollinator crisis threatens global and local food security, can worsen the problems of hidden hunger, erodes ecosystem resilience, and can destabilise ecosystems that form our life support system. An integrated approach that simultaneously addresses the key drivers is needed. This includes creation and restoration of floral and nesting resources, a global phase out of prophylactic use of neonicotinoids and fipronil, improvement of test protocols in authorisation of agrochemicals, and restoration and maintenance of independence in regulatory science. The authors argue that an international treaty for global pollinator stewardship and pollinator ecosystem restoration should be initiated in order to systemically counteract the current crisis.
Scientists urge transition to pollinator-friendly agriculture
Utrecht & Tokyo, 7 June 2013
Honeybee disorders and high colony losses have become global phenomena. An international team of scientist led by Utrecht University synthesized recent findings on the effects of neonicotinoid pesticides on bees. Scientists conclude that owing to their large scale prophylaxic use in agriculture, their high persistence in soil and water, and their uptake by plants and translocation to flowers, neonicotinoids put pollinator services at risk.
EFSA scientists have identified a number of risks posed to bees by three neonicotinoid insecticides. The Authority was asked by the European Commission to assess the risks associated with the use of clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam as seed treatment or as granules, with particular regard to: their acute and chronic effects on bee colony survival and development; their effects on bee larvae and bee behaviour; and the risks posed by sub-lethal doses of the three substances. In some cases EFSA was unable to finalise the assessments due to shortcomings in the available data.
Wetenschappers dringen aan op transitie naar bijvriendelijke landbouw
Utrecht & Tokyo, 7 juni 2013
Wereldwijd kampen imkers met abnormaal hoge volksterfte en verzwakte bijen. Een internationaal team van wetenschappers geleid door Universiteit Utrecht bracht de recente wetenschappelijke stand van kennis in kaart over de effecten van neonicotinoïde insecticiden op bijen. Grootschalig preventief gebruik in de landbouw, in combinatie met hoge persistentie in bodem en water en opname door planten die het gif doorgeven aan hun stuifmeel en nectar, leiden tot substantiële risico’s. De wetenschappers concluderen dat de bestuiving van bloeiende planten en landbouwgewassen op het spel staat.
The European Commission has decided to ban three neonicotinoid insecticides. These chemicals can harm honeybees, according to a large body of scientific evidence, so the European Environment Agency (EEA) commends the precautionary decision to ban them.
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The European Ombudsman, P. Nikiforos Diamandouros, has opened an investigation into whether the European Commission has taken appropriate measures to combat increased bee mortality in the EU, which is potentially linked to certain insecticides. This follows a complaint from the Austrian Ombudsman Board, alleging that the Commission has failed to take into account new scientific evidence arguing in favour of restricting the use of these insecticides. The Ombudsman has asked the Commission to submit an opinion by 30 June 2012.
[Persbericht van Groen Links Europa]
STRAATSBURG, 15 november - De bijenpopulatie is schrikbarend aan het afnemen, terwijl meer dan tachtig procent van ons groente en fruit afhankelijk is van bestuiving door de bij. Vandaag stemde het Europees Parlement in met een zeer zwak voorstel van de landbouwcommissie over de bij. GroenLinks-Europarlementariër Bas Eickhout stelde een alternatieve resolutie op om aan te geven dat het voorstel van de landbouwcommissie een stap terug in de tijd zet en meer opkomt voor de belangen van de farmaceutische industrie dan van de bij.
On 15 November 2011 the EU parliament voted for a resolution on honeybee health. Rising bee mortality could have a serious impact on Europe's food production and environmental stability, as most plants are pollinated by bees, warned MEPs on Tuesday. Parliament's resolution calls on the EU to step up investment in research on new medicines and coordinate its efforts to protect what is fast becoming an endangered species.
By Martha Moss - 23rd March 2011
MEPs, scientists and EU officials came together in the European parliament on Wednesday to discuss the potential risks of plant protection products on bees. Speaking at the event, ALDE deputy Chris Davies called on the EU to invoke the precautionary principle in relation to certain pesticides, which could result in their withdrawal from the market were they found to constitute a health risk. Some studies have suggested that neonicotinoid insecticides could be a factor behind Europe's 30 per cent decline in bee numbers seen in recent years.
On Dec 6 2010 The European Commission issued it's communication on Honeybee Health to the European Parliament and the council. It outlines need for more action in the EU.