World Bee Day is observed annually on 20 May across the globe. The day is marked to raise awareness about the essential roles bees play in supporting people and the environment.
Bees are known to be one of the hardest working creatures on the planet and immensely benefit the people and the natural ecosystem around them. Bees carry pollen grains from one flower to another and help in the production of fruits, nuts, and seeds, contributing significantly to food security and nutrition.
This year, World Bee Day will be celebrated under the theme - ‘Bee Engaged: Celebrating the diversity of bees and beekeeping systems’.
How will the day be celebrated this year?
World Bee Day, which is organised by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), will be observed through a virtual event this year. The grand event will be available in several languages including Spanish, Arabic, English, French, Chinese and Russian.
According to the official website, the event will focus on highlighting the importance of bees and sustainable beekeeping systems. It will also draw attention towards the various threats and challenges these pollinators face, while focusing on their contribution to livelihoods and food chain systems.
The event, which features bee and pollination experts from all over the globe, is scheduled to start with a video message by FAO Director-General QU Dongyu.
History and Significance:
World Bee Day is celebrated on the birth anniversary Slovenian beekeeper Anton Janša, who was the pioneer of modern beekeeping. Born on 20 May 1734, he came from a long line of beekeepers and was the first beekeeping teacher at the Viennese imperial court.
In 1766, Janša enrolled himself in the first bee-keeping school in Europe. He later on worked full-time as a beekeeper. In 1771, he published a book titled Discussion on Bee-keeping.
Decades down the line, in 2016, Slovenia proposed World Bee Day to be celebrated on 20 May each year. The following year, a proposal for the day was submitted at the 40th Session of the FAO Conference. Finally on 20 May 2018, the first World Bee Day was marked.
The day also highlights the threats bees face and how any threat to the existence of these creatures can adversely impact food production, nutrition and even entire ecosystems.