FAO welcomes the UN’s decision to create a decade on family farming, a World Bee Day. This day prompts awareness of the need to combat illegal fishing, and declare international years for camelids and artisanal fisheries and aquaculture. May 20 will mark World Bee Day and 2019 will mark the beginning of the UN Decade of Family Farming, drawing more attention to the people who produce more than 80% of the world’s food but whose own members, paradoxically, are often the most vulnerable to hunger. Meanwhile, 2024 will be the International Year of Camelids.
The UN General Assembly on Wednesday approved three new resolutions that task FAO with leading organizational and information-sharing roles. Not only do pollinators, smallholders and camelids contribute directly to food security, but they are key levers for conserving biodiversity, another cornerstone of the Sustainable Development Goals. Earlier this month, the General Assembly had also proclaimed an international day to celebrate the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and an international year to promote artisanal fisheries and aquaculture.
FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva said, “I welcome the UN member countries’ endorsement of these important food and agriculture issues. The observances starting next year will help raise global attention and momentum for the urgent push towards achieving Zero Hunger by 2030.”
Bees and other pollinators – including butterflies, bats and hummingbirds – allow many plants, including many food crops, to reproduce. May 20 has been chosen for the annual day as it is the birthday of Anton Janša, who in the 18th century pioneered modern beekeeping techniques in his native Slovenia – which led the push for the celebration and praised the animal for its ability to work so hard while needing so little attention.
The honeybee in particular has been a workhorse, not only as a pollinator able to visit around 7,000 flowers a day but also as a provider of honey – coveted for millennia as food and medicine – and for offering livelihood opportunities requiring little capital or land ownership.
FAO has included training in beekeeping in multiple rural development projects from Azerbaijan to Niger and is leading the assembly of a data base on pollination services around the world. The resolution calls for FAO and the International Fund for Agricultural Development to support the implementation of the Decade, notes that more and more countries are making significant progress in developing public policies in favour of family farming, and praises the utility of information exchanges facilitated by the Family Farming Knowledge Platform hosted by FAO, as well as by South-South, triangular and farmer-to-farmer cooperation activities.
The Sustainable Development Goals are characterized by a strong focus on smallholder and family farmers, targeting, by 2030, to double their agricultural productivity and incomes, in particular women, and including indigenous peoples, pastoralists and fishers.
The UN also declared 2022 as the International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture, which will help focus attention on the small-scale fishermen and women who comprise 90 percent of the world’s fisheries work force.