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One Month Left to Collect Signatures for the ECI Save Bees and Farmers.

We have until September 30th to reach a million signatures for the European Citizens Initiative (ECI) Save Bees and Farmers. Over 730.000 Europeans have already signed the initiative to demand a safer environment for bees and fair conditions for farmers. Signatories are joining the science-backed conclusions that we need to reduce and phase out pesticide use to secure a sustainable agriculture that does not endanger biodiversity. After a successful signature collection period for the ECI, the European Commission will propose new actions to transform demands into action through new legislation.

With the world climate changing at an alarming pace and the unprecedented loss of biodiversity we face, the world's food supply and, ultimately, the survival of our species are at stake. These disturbing findings were all presented by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO, February [1]), the World Biodiversity Council (IPBES, May 2019[2]) and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, August 2021[3]). Scientists have left no doubt that human activity is behind this global crisis, and the solution requires rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society. These include a radical shift in global energy production to renewable energy sources and a fundamental land use transformation, especially agricultural production.

The Save Bees and Farmers initiative aims to become a catalyst to transform agriculture towards a model based on agroecological principles and promoting biodiversity. Such an agricultural model preserves natural resources, prevents soil degradation, builds up soil fertility and thus contributes to climate protection by absorbing more greenhouse gases from the atmosphere than it releases. It also ensures fair economic conditions for farmers, respecting the rights of medium and small farmers, thus transforming the current trends of intensive agriculture that sees a decreasing number of farmers [4]. Moreover, such an agricultural model is the only possible response to the growing challenges posed by the biodiversity and climate crises. It is therefore also best suited to securing the world's food supply for future generations.

Beekeepers continue witnessing decaying conditions in the field. They are troubled not only by bee mortality rates but the loss of natural resources for insects. The picture is a bleak one, and not only for bees and beekeepers. Declining biodiversity and weakened natural resources to support it put the balance of natural ecosystems in peril.

To effectively counter the decline of environmental health, the ECI is calling to:

Phase-out synthetic pesticides by 2035​:

Phase-out synthetic pesticides in EU agriculture by 80% by 2030, starting with the most hazardous, to become 100% pesticide-free by 2035. ​

Restore biodiversity:

Restore natural ecosystems in agricultural areas so that farming becomes a vector of biodiversity recovery.

Support farmers in the transition:

Reform agriculture by prioritising small scale, diverse and sustainable farming, supporting a rapid increase in agroecological and organic practice, and enabling independent farmer-based training and research into pesticide- and GMO-free farming.

You can contribute to a better future for bees, farmers, and everyone, by signing the ECI Save Bees and Farmers and sharing the initiative. If you are part of an organisation, you can also help by collecting signatures through your members and network. Promotional material and more information are also available.

The ECI already counts with over 730.000 signatures from all over Europe. Besides, eight countries (out of seven required) already achieved the minimum threshold of signatures: Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Romania, and The Netherlands.

European citizens are joining to build a better future, one where we apply lessons learned and secure an healthy environment and a system with fair rules for all farmers. The signature collection will conclude on September 30th, and we still need the support of more than 250.000 citizens. Your voice counts!


[2] Bees and other pollinators, in particular, are indispensable for preserving our ecosystems and biodiversity. Up to one-third of our food production and two-thirds of our daily fruits and vegetables rely on pollination through bees and other insects. Yet, they are existentially threatened by constant pesticide contamination and habitat loss due to industrial agriculture. Read more: Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). 2019.

[3] Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). 2021. Climate Change 2021. The Physical Science Basis.

[4] The rapid decline of both small farms and wildlife is deeply rooted in our current model of agricultural food production that heavily relies on big scale monocultural farming and the use of synthetic pesticides. To make things worse, the EU actively funds this form of agriculture through its current agropolitical agenda and its system of subsidies that favour mass production over small scale and eco-friendly farming. Read more: Nyeleni Europe and Central Asia Platform for Food Sovereignty. 2019. More farmers, better food - Why and how to put small-scale sustainable producers at the core of the new CAP.


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