BeeLife's Activities in 2020 and 2021

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BeeLife – An NGO working for the future of bees

What is BeeLife European Beekeeping Coordination? BeeLife is an association formed by beekeepers and farmers from different European Union countries. It works to protect bees, pollinators, and biodiversity, based on the principle that pollinators are not only essential for our food security (pollination) but are also ideal indicators of environmental health. BeeLife advocates for more sustainable and innovative farming practices and for improved collaboration between farmers and beekeepers.



To achieve this goal, BeeLife is taking action to foster cooperation between European institutions (European Commission, Members of the European Parliament, agencies such as the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), researchers, beekeepers, and farmers, so that everyone understands and plays their role in protecting pollinators. BeeLife is composed of more than twenty members, beekeeping, and farming associations from eleven European Union countries.

The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP)

In the framework of the new CAP, currently under discussion, BeeLife continues its advocacy work to achieve a more sustainable and pollinator-friendly agricultural system. BeeLife's vision for the CAP and more detailed proposals are presented in the report A CAP for pollinators [1]. To support the arguments directed at European and national decision-makers (Member State representatives, MEPs, officials, ministers) to call for improved protection of pollinators, we also feature other tools for our members and interested parties to use.


BeeLife proposes to include a Pollinator Index in the CAP [2], and the details are summarized in a factsheet available to the public. The Pollinator Index is a tool to measure the impact of EU policies on pollinators. This factsheet gives an overview of the parameters it would measure and the information it would provide. The European Commission is already working on a pollinator index, but we request that legislators include it in the final CAP text to ensure its adoption.


BeeLife also advocates for a Pollinators Eco-scheme [3]. Voted in the new CAP, eco-schemes aim to encourage environmentally-friendly farming practices. The agricultural practices supported by this tool are not defined yet. BeeLife proposes an ideal eco-scheme to better protect pollinators and provides members and stakeholders a factsheet on its potential shape.







Some local authorities are already interested in these proposals and have approached BeeLife to ask about their possible implementation. In addition, some BeeLife members are advancing these proposals in their local negotiations. We invite each actor to advocate locally for these measures.

In addition, BeeLife also conducts a series of relevant actions for the future of the CAP:

· Participating in several sessions of the European Commission's Civil Dialogue Groups (CDG) on agriculture to represent European beekeepers and advocate for better environmental conditions for bees (specialised groups on honey & bee products, arable crops, Common Agricultural Policy, etc).

· Joining efforts with other NGOs to monitor and denounce the lack of transparency in the CAP negotiation process.

· Supporting advocacy and negotiations for national application of the CAP at a national level by providing support to its members, providing them with tools and information to contribute locally to EU affairs.

Pesticide regulation and risk assessment

BeeLife also monitors pesticide assessment procedures by:

Intervening in the revision of the guidance documents for the evaluation of pesticides. EFSA presented to the Member States four different approaches to establish "specific protection goals" that set the threshold of "acceptance" for pesticides' effects on bees. This is a revision of a document [4] already proposed in 2013, which was satisfactory but never voted on by EU Member States. BeeLife reviewed and commented on the proposals. It denounced a regression of objectives for most of them and emphasised the risks and advantages of each. It also denounced [5] the political blockage that has delayed the adoption of this Bee Guidance Document for more than 7 years.


In addition, BeeLife also:


  • Works on the risks that certain veterinary products pose to bees. We first raised awareness among relevant stakeholders (video, short presentations) and then co-produced a scientific study on the subject with European and national institutions and agencies, whose results will be published in 2021.

  • Investigates potential legal resources to stop emergency authorisations (such as in Romania [6] and France [7]) of banned neonicotinoids in the EU. In collaboration with ClientEarth, findings suggest that the most effective measures should be at the national rather than the European level.

  • Became an expert stakeholder in the definition of the future Risk assessment of Biocides on pollinators. This assessment is carried out by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) and is required before biocides enter the European market.

The Bee Hub and the « EU Bee Partnership » platform

BeeLife is developing a never-before-seen platform to centralise, aggregate, and communicate relevant data on pollinators - The Bee Hub. The platform seeks to improve conditions for pollinators through the application of Big Data on pollinator health and environmental data.


After initial developments and finalisation of the platform’s Proof of Concept, BeeLife is continuing work on The Bee Hub on behalf of the European Bee Partnership (stakeholder discussion group on bee health). EFSA is currently funding the development of the platform prototype with a new name: European Bee Partnership Prototype Platform on Bee Health.


The platform depends on collaborations with data providers such as beekeeping and agricultural associations, authorities, research projects, plant protection industry, etc. Everyone can become a data provider and benefit from the future advantages of the platform: data storage, easy-to-use visualisation, improved visibility of their projects. In this way, they will participate in the creation of the first platform that centralises data on pollinators and their environment, for a brighter future for pollinators.

Other activities

BeeLife also follows various cross-cutting issues. For example, it supports the European Commission against pesticide producers in a lawsuit [8] before the Court of Justice of the European Union. It also supports and disseminates the European Citizens' Initiative "Save Bees and Farmers'' that every citizen can sign and promote.



For more information and further collaboration, contact us at:


info@bee-life.eu

comms@bee-life.eu







References:


[1] BeeLife. 2019. A Cap for Pollinators: HOW THE NEW CAP MAY SUPPORT POLLINATORS AND POLLINATORS BENEFIT THE NEW CAP. https://link.bee-life.eu/cap-for-pollinators-publication


[2] BeeLife. 2020. Factsheet: Pollinator Index. https://link.bee-life.eu/pollinatorind


[3] BeeLife. 2020. Factsheet: Pollinator Eco Scheme. https://link.bee-life.eu/pollinatorecoscheme


[4] EFSA. 2013. Guidance on the risk assessment of plant protection products on bees (Apis mellifera, Bombus spp. and solitary bees). https://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/efsajournal/pub/3295


[5] BeeLife. 2020. European Bees Under Peril as Protection Goals for Risk Assessment of Pesticides Might Paint a Bleak Future. https://www.bee-life.eu/post/european-bees-under-peril-as-protection-goals-for-risk-assessment-ofpesticides-might-paint-a-bleak


[6] BeeLife. 2020. Neonicotinoid-Ban Derogations Limited, But Still Persist in Romania. https://www.bee-life.eu/post/neonicotinoid-ban-derogations-limited-but-still-persist-in-romania


[7] BeeLife. 2020. France Travels Back in Time by Limiting the Protection of Pollinators and Biodiversity. https://www.bee-life.eu/post/france-travels-back-in-time-by-limiting-the-protection-of-pollinators-and-biodiversity


[8] BeeLife. 2020. Environmental NGOs Continue Backing Ban on Neonicotinoids During Hearing at EUCJ. https://www.bee-life.eu/post/environmental-ngos-continue-backing-ban-on-neonicotinoids-during-hearing-at-eucj