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An Opportunity We Cannot Miss to Improve Bee Health: Adopting EFSA's Bee Guidance Document

The Save the Bee Coalition, of which BeeLife is part of, continues to pursue a clear objective of improved bee health in the EU, currently in the form of adopting the European Food and Safety Authority's "Guidance on the risk assessment of plant protection products on bees". Better known as the bee guidance document, it includes state of the art testing standards on pesticides that might be harmful to bees (including both honey and wild bees). Now, it is time for the European Commission to act and adopt this document which envisages only a brighter future for bees. The Bee Guidance document includes significant updates on the assessment methods of the risks that pesticides pose to bees. It is clear that the European Commission's Standing Committee on Plants, Animal, Food and Feed (SCoPAFF) needs to adopt this groundbreaking document if we want a coherent EU in which bee protection is more than just a discursive political commitment. It has been six years since the document was first published in 2013, granting significant support for the already famous ban on neonicotinoids. Today, after increasing expectations for the SCoPAFF to adopt EFSA's bee guidance, the Bee Coalition is directly asking Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker to take action. Not only NGOs working for improved bee health, but beekeepers and concerned citizens have all been waiting for the adoption of the document, even holding their breath as a vote was expected to take place in December 2018. However, it never took place, leaving at risk the adoption of this critical update on risk assessment. The adoption of the guidance would certainly be a start in proving that the commitment to bee health is real and that governments are effectively working to improve conditions. Besides, we hope they will eventually prove wrong statements such as Bee Coalition member, Greenpeace's Franziska Achterberg: "Ministers like to present themselves as bee-heroes to people at home, but behind closed doors in Brussels, they do the dirty work of pesticide producers. After throwing their weight behind a ban on three neonicotinoids last year, ministers now want to make it impossible to ban pesticides that are just as dangerous to bees. If these governments get their way, farmers and gardeners could end up replacing banned chemicals with other harmful pesticides." [1]

A new chance is coming up. We need to take into account the schedule of SCoPAFF's next meetings and ensure that bee protection continues moving forward, avoiding serious setbacks and any selective protection where only a few hazardous products are forbidden, but others continue to be greenlighted while carrying proven risks to bees.

Share our message to Jean-Claude Juncker and raise your voice for bees!

And don't forget to sign the petition to Save the Bees!


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