On February 11, 2020, BeeLife celebrated its latest General Assembly, with the participation of several of its members and Board of Directors. Members and the team of BeeLife used this opportunity to renew their engagement towards the protection of pollinators in Europe. During the meeting, members established the priorities for 2020 and reached a consensus on the structure and working of BeeLife.
Activities during 2019
During the General Assembly, the staff of BeeLife presented the Activity Report for 2019. In the previous year, BeeLife focused a significant portion of its efforts to a follow-up and direct link with European institutions for the new Common Agricultural Policy. Recommendations and advocacy activities were vital, both before and after European elections took place in May 2019. BeeLife has concentrated on concrete measures such as the Pollinator Index to measure the impact of public policies on pollinators, a pollinator eco-scheme. It also includes more detailed comments on the tools available in the CAP to improve conditions for pollinators.
A milestone achieved regarding CAP was the publication of the report A CAP for Pollinators, How the new CAP may support pollinators and pollinators benefit the new CAP. This document comprises BeeLife's analysis of tools available in the new CAP and their adequate redirection. The goal is that tools become the proper means of improving both agricultural practices and pollinator protection.
Additionally, BeeLife has extended its link with some MEPs before European elections, bringing the dossier of pollinator protection to the forefront of democratic discussion. For this, BeeLife has published a series of interviews with MEPs, bringing agricultural and environmental subjects discussed at European level closer to citizens.
In 2019, BeeLife also published its report When Science and Biodiversity Meet Economic Interests. The report recounts the development of EFSA's Bee Guidance Document for a state-of-the-art methodology of risk assessment of products that may impact bees. Notably, it explains the modes on which its adoption by European authorities has failed and the political blockage which prevents its adoption.
BeeLife also developed other relevant actions, such as the development of the Internet of Bees (IoBee) project, leading its role in communications and working on field tests of digital monitoring hardware. At the same time, a constant follow-up with European institutions and other networks focused on the health of bees and pollinators in general, such as the EU Bee Partnership, marked the priorities of 2019.
(For more details on BeeLife actions throughout 2019, read the full Activity Report)
A Reshaped Board of Directors
After reviewing past actions, members of BeeLife have reshaped the Board of Directors, with two new additions from Italy and Sweden. The structure of the Board of Directors for the next two years is the following:
Francesco Panella, UNAAPI, Italy - President
Henri Clément, UNAAF, France - Secretaire
Constantin Dobrescu, ROMAPIS, Romania - Treasurer
Etienne Bruneau, CARI, Belgium
Frank Aletru, SNA, France
Anna Ganapini, CONAPI, Italy*
Lars Hellander, Biodlarna, Sweden*
*The two new members of the Board, Anna Ganapini and Lars Hellander, come from a long trajectory matters related to beekeeping and improving the conditions for bees pollinators in general.
Anna Ganapini is a third-generation beekeeper and a producer member of CONAPI (National Consortium of Beekeepers) since 2011. She leads 450 hives with organic certification in the Apennine mountainous region. She is also the current director of CONAPI, since 2016, the administrator of UNAAPI (National Union of Bee Associations) since 2019, and the Vice-president of the Honey Group at the Confederation of Italian farmers.
Lars Hellander, also called Lasse, is an experienced organic farmer, with over 52 years of experience, and 40 years of working with bees. His primary focus is on the improvement of the agricultural system aiming towards the expansion of organic farming and beekeeping. He has been a member of the administrative board and the executive committee for the Swedish Beekeepers Association (Biodlarna) for seven years, also working on EU affairs.
Priorities for 2020
With a new composition of the Board, BeeLife has re-established its priorities for the following year.
First, the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) remains the main priority. The future CAP which the European Parliament will finalise and approve this year will be the driving force of the future of European agriculture and its environmental effects. BeeLife takes the future CAP very seriously due to its potential to improve environmental conditions for pollinators. What is more, "around 80% of domestic environmental law originates from EU legislation" . Effectively improving the protection of pollinators requires to continue the efforts to advise on the best possible measures so that agriculture and pollinators can best benefit each other.
Some of the participants to the General Assembly also had the chance to take part in an active day of meetings in Brussels European Parliament
Another priority will be the development of an integrative bee and pollinator health data platform. As recognised within the EU Bee Health Partnership, there is a need to create a tool that can integrate different sources of data relevant to pollinator health and visualise it to the public. Members of BeeLife acknowledge this need and see the potential to develop this innovative platform. The initial stages are already being taken in the framework of the Internet of Bees, IoBee project. The platform has been named as The Bee Hub, aiming to become a never-before-seen tool open to the public. Efforts for this platform will be increased in 2020, jointly with potential partners who share BeeLife's values for the protection of pollinators and an open logic.
The BeeLife team is currently developing the proof of concept (POC) of The Bee Hub, for which members and any interested parties in sharing bee or pollinator related data are welcome to participate. BeeLife offers a data-sharing agreement in which data ownership and privacy protection are guaranteed. The opportunity to support this innovative tool by sharing relevant data is open to members and non-members.
(Are you interested in this The Bee Hub? Please contact us at email@example.com for more information)
BeeLife is looking at the future of the environment as well as the role pollinators play in sustaining healthy ecosystems. From European legislation with the CAP to the more practical procedures to attain a better future (as with projects or innovative initiatives), BeeLife is working to be at the vanguard of the protection of pollinators. By recognising their value and the need to safeguard them, a collaborative spirit leads the organisation to continue working for improved conditions for pollinators, for biodiversity and, therefore, for ourselves.