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Intergroup CCBSD Main achievements 2009-2014
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Invasions in Europe
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Bee decline/neonicotinoid ban Key decision for bees as European Commission pushes for proposed neonicotinoid suspension
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EU General Court Rules against Sustainable Use of Seals
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First Global Plan of Action for Forest Genetic Resources adopted by FAO members
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New Director at IUCN Brussels Office
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FAO forestry chief to lead UN-wide preps for Expo 2015
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The Inuit take on the world’s greens and animal rightists
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URBES for cities and biodiversity
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A European strategy to tackle the great challenges of agriculture and food security under climate change
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EU parliament urged to reject calls to designate polar bears an endangered species
Wed., 21th of Nov. 2012

Council agreement on revision of accounting directives
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LATEST NEWSLETTERS

EP Intergroup CCBSD

A NEW SPRING FOR BEES


INTERGROUP MEETING
Wednesday, 02th of April 2014

For the third consecutive year, bees made the buzz at the European Parliament during the European Week of Bees and Pollinators and the high-level conference organised by the EP Intergroup on “Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development” on Wednesday 2 April 2014 entitled: “A New Spring for Bees”. The conference was organised under the patronage of Gaston Franco MEP in the presence H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco, whose Foundation leads an outstanding battle for the protection of biodiversity, and in particular of wild bees.

H.S.H. Prince Albert II opened the session with a genuine ode to the bee: “Bees are the owners of a past, a present and a future; this future would be endangered if the status quo remains.”

European Commissioner Tonio Borg in charge of Consumer Health welcomed the international dimension of the conference: “We are dealing with an issue that has huge implications for each and every one of us – not only in Europe, but all across the world,” he argued. Dr. Borg stressed the high controversy on the use of pesticides as the number one factor for bee mortality and called for more dialogue with all the stakeholders to find sustainable and long-term solutions. UNEP’s Executive Director, Mr. Achim Steiner, put an emphasis on the importance of pollination services and biodiversity as key elements to ensure the transition of our societies to a green economy.

In Europe, it is estimated that 7 billion bees are needed to fulfill the task of pollination correctly; indeed, pollination plays a major role in preserving ecosystems. “Bees keep on dying and the whole balance of the ecosystem is being threatened,” declared Gaston Franco MEP, Vice-Chair of the Intergroup. He added: “The European institutions have a duty to inform the public opinion on the current state of bee health and to coordinate actions at the EU level in support of bees and the beekeeping sector.”

In a video message, Dacian Ciolos, European Commissioner in charge of Agriculture, stated that 30% of the budget allocation for direct payments and rural development under the reformed CAP will be used to promote sustainable agricultural practices. In addition, supplementary measures will specifically target the European beekeeping sector: in the next 3 years, over 100 million Euros will be allocated by the EU to finance beekeeping programmes, affirmed the Commissioner. Yet, he recognised that one of the biggest challenges the EU has to face lies in the multiple dimensions of the bee issue: “The debate on bees encapsulates once again the inter-connection of the environmental, economical and social aspects in agriculture,” he said.

Mr. Karl Falkenberg, Director General for Environment in the Commission reiterated the engagement of his DG in the combat against biodiversity loss with the Nature 2000 programme. While valuable, he held that these isolated sites need to be connected and that space for bees needs to be found also in areas outside the Natura system. Furthermore, he greeted the EU decision to combat invasive species that may also be responsible for the loss of bee populations and have serious negative impact on EU biodiversity. Mr. Falkenberg highlighted the need for further investments in research to fully understand the multiple causes of bee population loss.

Piet Wit, Chair of the IUCN's Commission on Ecosystem Management, outlined the work of the IUCN Task Force on Systemic Pesticides. The Task Force studies scientific evidence of the impact of neonicotinoid pesticides on the environment and in particular on bees. Mr. Wit emphasized the need to use neonicotinoids carefully and under the Integrated Pest Management scheme, which is not always fully implemented.

In the first panel debate, Mr. Jean-Charles Bocquet, Director General of the European Crops Protection Association (ECPA) called for an end to the demonization of the industry, which instead of being the source of the problem is committed to find and deliver solutions to the problems of diseases, nutrition, habitats etc. The industry believes that “today we are over-focusing on pesticides and are thus neglecting other factors. We believe in collaboration and dialogue among all relevant stakeholders to find effective solutions,” he argued. This message was echoed by Mr. Jean-Marc Petat, Director of the sustainable development department of BASF France, who stressed that “the industry intends to act responsibly and contribute to effectively develop responses to improve the health of bee populations.”

Pathologies and diseases are often also pointed as a cause of bee mortality, as is the lack of effective medicines to treat them, a situation that is aggravated by the use of unsustainable remedies. Mr. Nicolas Vidal Naquet of the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe underlined “the key role that veterinarians play to solve the crisis in the beekeeping sector and in particular its sanitary component.”

Several beekeepers represented in the panel and the audience expressed concern with the negative consequences of reformed CAP for the beekeeping profession, including its international dimension. Mr. Philippe Lecompte, President of Réseau Biodiversité pour les Abeilles argued that the development of apicultural set-aside, which represents a real oasis for biodiversity, should be further encouraged by the CAP. “Better fed, our bees will be more resistant,” Mr. Etienne Bruneau (COPA COGECA) on his part called for a holistic approach to help the bees and the beekeeping sector in Europe.

It was generally accepted that part of the solution would lie in redoubling efforts in science and education for the beekeepers. A consensus emerged on the necessity of establishing a systemic dialogue with all the stakeholders without which there would be no spring for bees!

Mrs. Astrid Lulling MEP concluded by saying that “instead of subsidizing the loss due to bee mortality, the EU should fund innovative solutions to increase the number of bees.” 

The European Commission, the EU Reference Laboratory for Honeybee Health and Anses just released on 7 April 2014 the first official set of EU data on honeybee colony mortalities,   a comparable study across borders drawn up with the voluntary co-operation of the veterinary services of 17 Member States.


Other panelists included:
Mr. Oliver Schweiger, STEP
Mrs. Monique Eloit, World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE)
Mrs. Mariya Gabriel, MEP
Mr. Gilles Salvat, ANSES
Mrs. Maria Betti, JRC
Dr. Bach Kim Nguyen, University of Liège (Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech)/ BeeOdiversity
Mrs. Anne Gourmelon, OECD
Mr. Samuel Lardeux, ONF
Mr. Martin Dermine, Pan Europe 
Mr. Alojz Peterle, MEP
Mrs. Julie Girling, MEP
Mr. Eric Poudelet, DG SANCO
Dr. Adrian Siceanu, University of Bucharest
Dr. Luis Carazo Jimenez, DG AGRI


***
This conference was organised with the kind support of the Foundation Prince Albert II of Monaco, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and GDF Suez.

It took place in the framework of the 3rd European Week of Bees and Pollinators under the patronage of Gaston Franco MEP, in partnership with the Foundation Prince Albert II of Monaco, UNEP, the European Parliament Intergroup on “Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development”, the University of Liège (Gembloux Agrio-Bio Tech), Réseau Biodiversité pour les Abeilles and DGF Suez.


Video-message by Dacian Ciolos, European Commissioner for Agriculture
Video-message by Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP)

Media coverage:
BFMTV
EuroparlTV
BEL Europe (BEL RTL)
Nice Matin

Documents of the meeting
Summary_Report_-_New_Spring_for_Bees.pdf
Press_Release.pdf
List_of_participants.pdf
Agenda_New_Spring_for_Bees.pdf
Programme_Nouveau_printemps_pour_les_abeilles.pdf
Programme Bee Week 2014
Programme de la semaine de l'abeille 2014

Presentations
Anne_Gourmelon.pdf
Piet_Wit.pdf
Luis_Carazo_Jimenez.pdf
Gilles_Salvat.pdf
Oliver_Schweiger.pdf
Samuel_Lardeux.pdf
Adrian_Siceanu.pdf

 

UPCOMING MEETINGS
PAST MEETINGS
Intergroup Cocktail Reception in Strasbourg
Tue., 01th of Jul. 2014
European Parliament, Strasbourg, Room C2.1
A New Spring for Bees
Wed., 02th of Apr. 2014
Towards a consolidated Network of Knowledge on biodiversity and ecosystem services in Europe
Tue., 01th of Apr. 2014
Promoting the electrification of transport : the EU and Quebec, similar priorities
Wed., 19th of Mar. 2014
Blue Growth: promoting jobs and innovation
Wed., 19th of Mar. 2014
Ocean Literacy: Educating the public on species and habitat conservation
Tue., 28th of Jan. 2014
European Parliament, Brussels, Room PHS 4B01
Water and Energy as instruments for Peace
Tue., 28th of Jan. 2014
European Parliament, Brussels, Room P5B001
The EU’s BEST Initiative: Voluntary scheme for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in Territories of the EU Outermost Regions and Overseas Countries and Territories
Mon., 27th of Jan. 2014
European Parliament, Brussels, Room P7C050
A New EU Forest Strategy: Ensuring sustainable forest management for socio-economic and environmental services
Tue., 21th of Jan. 2014
European Parliament, Brussels, Room JAN 6Q1
EU legislation on Invasive Alien Species: debate on strengthening the EC proposed approach
Mon., 20th of Jan. 2014
Sustainable Consumption and Production: Increasing productivity while reducing resource inputs and pollution outputs
Thu., 05th of Dec. 2013
European Parliament, Brussels, Room A5E2
Jobs, competitiveness and environmental protection: Opportunities in the minerals sector
Wed., 04th of Dec. 2013
The EU Overseas Countries and Territories: Valuing a global asset and developing regional hubs
Tue., 03th of Dec. 2013
Room JAN 6Q1, European Parliament, Brussels
Sustainable Chemistry: Supporting Research, Innovation and Competitiveness in Europe
Wed., 13th of Nov. 2013
Room A1E2, European Parliament, Brussels
ETS and Aviation: Which way forward to ensure competitiveness and emissions’ reduction?
Wed., 13th of Nov. 2013
Prevention and management of the introduction and spread of Invasive Alien Species
Wed., 06th of Nov. 2013
The future of Biofuels as alternative fuel for the transport sector
Wed., 16th of Oct. 2013
European Parliament, Brussels, Room 6Q1
NAIADES: the promotion and future of inland waterways in Europe
Tue., 01th of Oct. 2013
European Parliament, Brussels, Room A1H1
Policy options for the new EU framework on environmental inspections
Wed., 25th of Sep. 2013
Meeting the EU 2020 Biodiversity Targets: Mainstreaming Conservation
Tue., 24th of Sep. 2013
ASP 3E2, European Parliament
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