The EU Bee Partnership, coordinated by the European Food Safety Authority and in collaboration with stakeholders such as BeeLife, just won an Ombudsman Award. The European Ombudsman just granted the partnership the 'Excellence in Collaboration' prize in its 2019 edition of the Good Administration Awards. This award acknowledges the importance of the work being done in the partnership, mainly thanks to its efforts in "raising awareness about the plight of bees".
The European Food Safety Authority in collaboration with several stakeholders regarding bee health created the EU Bee Partnership. As discussions continued to formalise collaborations between stakeholders in 2017, the partnership later became a reality. In 2018, during the Bee Week at the European Parliament, its Terms of Reference were unveiled, marking the seriousness of the work ahead.
Since its early developments, the partnership has been an essential platform for collaboration between stakeholders in bee-health from different contexts. Stakeholders include:
- Association of Veterinary Consultants
- BeeLife European Beekeeping Coordination
- European Crop Protection Association
- European Federation of Honey Packers and Distributors
- European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental
- European Professional Beekeeping Association
- European Union Reference Laboratory for honey bee health
- International Confederation of European Beet Growers – CIBE
- International Biocontrol Manufacturers Association - IBMA
- Pesticide Action Network – Europe
- Prevention of Honey Bee Colony Losses – COLOSS
Even though the award focused on raising awareness, the partnership is currently working towards high-impact goals for bee health. Mainly, it focuses on achieving a proper inventory of bee health data. Stakeholders and observers are also working towards data harmonisation, looking into the future of interoperability and data exchange between different databases. The partnership is also looking towards the standardisation of data collection methods, pairing it with new digital and automated systems — for example, a comprehensive hive mapping through GPS tracking.
The Ombudsman award is a recognition of the work of all participants and collaborators to the EU Bee Partnership. Thanks to the initiative by EFSA, meaningful collaborations have sprung, and the work towards better bee health in Europe continues to improve.