A Resolution Adopted for the Future of Pollinators: Time to bee-coherent in Brussels and beyond!
At the same time as the European Parliament rejected the proposal for a regulation on the sustainable use of pesticides, known as SUR, another important vote took place, on the Resolutions concerning the Pollinators' Initiative.
In the past few weeks, the European Parliament adopted a resolution endorsing the main goal of the revised EU Pollinators Initiative, that is, to reverse pollinator decline, which poses a threat to human well-being, agricultural productivity, food security and nature in general. The resolution was adopted by show of hands.
While MEPs recognise the contribution made by the first EU Pollinators Initiative, they call on the Commission to incorporate the results of this Initiative in the next Biodiversity Strategy and underline that measures to address biodiversity loss should also take place beyond protected areas. MEPs also call on the Commission to assess CAP Strategic Plans’ compliance with the objectives of the EU Pollinators Initiative. They also call for the inclusion of a specific chapter within the Strategic Plans to describe concrete measures aiming to protect wild and managed pollinators. The resolution also sets improved pollinator monitoring and a specific pollinator indicator for the Common Agricultural Policy by 2026.
The resolution comes at a time when the European Citizen Initiative (ECI) “Save bees and farmers” conducted a successful campaign and collected over 1 million signatures across Europe. The ECI is a widespread call for fewer pesticides and a healthier environment.
Therefore, matters of efficiency in halting and reversing the decline of pollinators become even more pressing. Biodiversity preservation requires an allocated budget, otherwise it will lead to inaction at field level. Hence, BeeLife emphasises the maintained references to how CAP Strategic Plans and budget should be used to help pollinators.
The right wing political groups are still continuously trying to water down all measures and actions for the protection of pollinators, biodiversity and nature in general. They are also stressing the importance of pesticides due to (unfounded) food security concerns, a false excuse not to change the paradigm. However, nature is not against Agriculture and both are interdependent.
A better protection of pollinator through a better evaluation of pesticides
We acknowledge the fact that the text “Underlines the continued need to better protect pollinators from risks resulting from pesticides and biocides, and regrets the delay in taking action to protect pollinators through the authorisation procedures laid down in Reg.1107/2009 and Reg. 528/2012.”
Moreover, the text “Stresses the importance of improving the scientific evidence base for assessing the relative toxicity of all pesticides, not just insecticides, to bees and other pollinators, so that the harm reduction targets can be better adjusted by 2027; further stresses the importance of amending legislation and implementing policies according to the latest scientific evidence in order to halt pollinator decline.”
Adding to this, the resolution also mentioned the problematic effects of ‘pesticide cocktail effects’ (the enhanced toxicity and various effects that occur due to interacting pesticides in an organism). It also recognised the need to assess these effects differently in pesticide authorisation procedures. This is a great victory that now needs to be translated into action! BeeLife has been striving for enhanced pesticide evaluation and authorisation procedures for a long time. We hope the Bee Guidance Documents proposed by EFSA will be finally implemented by Member States.
Resources and habitat protection
Two key elements of the resolution have also stressed other important measures and framing which Member States will need to adopt. For instance, supporting farmers’ essential role in boosting pollinator protection:
“the essential role of farmers in maintaining habitats for pollinators and fostering sustainable agricultural practices that prioritise the well-being of these crucial species and contribute to the preservation of biodiversity; highlights, in this regard, the agricultural practices already being carried out at local level to protect pollinator habitats; underlines, at the same time, the importance of an independent network of advisers to promote the dissemination and effective implementation of pollinator friendly measures;
The planting of draws and the restoration of multi-species orchards, which are a source of pollen and nectar.”
At BeeLife, we do not oppose, as some are trying to do, wild pollinators and honey bees, for we need both to secure the holistic health of our environment. That is why it is generally important to “improve current conservation efforts in protected areas and to consider establishing new protected areas for inter alia wild pollinators, especially Red Listed species.” As the resolution establishes, habitat protection is vital for pollinators.
Finally, the text is also calling for the integration of a specific pollinator indicator to monitor and assess the impact of the CAP. BeeLife has previously shared its vision of a pollinator indicator during the previous CAP negotiations and will expand this work by offering our cooperation to European institutions and stakeholders.
It is time to BEE- COHERENT for the protection of pollinators and a real Green Deal in Europe!