President of the United Nations General Assembly (PGA), Amb. Tijani Muhammad-Bande, has called for agricultural policies that protect bees and promote pollination.
The call came in a message on this year’s World Bee Day, celebrated on May 20, annually to highlight the role of bees and other pollinators in the ecosystem.
Muhammad-Bande, who is Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the UN, acknowledged the role of bees in food security and biodiversity.
According to him, they support global food systems with nearly three-quarters of the world’s crops depending largely on them and other pollinators.
He said this makes bees relevant to the poverty eradication and zero hunger agenda of the 74th session of the General Assembly.
In economic terms, the Nigerian envoy said “natural pollinators contribute up to 577 billion dollars (N216 trillion) to the global economy.
“However, colonies have been collapsing due to disturbances in their habitats as a result of intensive agricultural practices, changes in land use, urbanisation, and the use of pesticides which are harmful to pollinators.
“Furthermore, bees face the threat of climate change-induced extreme weather events.
“In this first year of the Decade of Action and Delivery to implement the Sustainable Development Goals, we are focusing our efforts on nature-based solutions.
“If we are to make progress on the SDGs, we must prioritise the preservation of bees and other pollinators.
“On World Bee Day, I call on all Member States to pursue agricultural policies which protect bees and promote green spaces in urban areas, which allow for pollination,” he said.
Muhammad-Bande also urged farmers around the world to protect bee habitats by adopting pollinator-friendly agricultural practices.
“I commend all beekeepers for the work they do, and trust that they will share their expertise to create a better world.
“I am confident that by working together to save the bees, we will succeed in ending hunger and eradicating poverty for everyone, everywhere,” he added.