From: UNEP
Published August 11, 2008 11:09 AM

New $27 million project will protect key pollinators for food security and biodiversity

WASHINGTON/Nairobi, 8 August 2008 — A new project worth $26.45 million has been launched by the Global Environment Facility to better protect bees, bats and birds that are essential to the world’s crop production.

The unique five-year project “Conservation & Management of Pollinators for Sustainable Agriculture through an Ecosystem Approach”Ě, which will be implemented through the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), will help ensure food security through the protection of the key pollinator species.

The project is coordinated by the Food and Agriculture Organization on United  Nations and  will be executed  through partnerships with the Governments of Brazil, Ghana, India, Kenya, Nepal, Pakistan and South Africa in collaboration with stakeholders from different environment and agricultural communities at national and international level, including ministries, research institutions, agencies, academia,  NGOs, private sector and farming communities.

The GEF will contribute $7.8million and leverage another $18.65 million from other partners which include multilateral organizations, governments and academic institutions.

In recent months, the decline and even collapse of important pollinator populations like honey bees have been detailed in scientific journals and in news reports.

Pollinators such as birds, bees, butterflies, bats and even mosquitoes are essential for food production because they transfer pollen between seed plants-impacting 35 per cent of the world’s crops. As a result, farmers and consumers alike strongly rely on these “pollinators”Ě for their very survival.

Along with providing an essential service to human populations, pollinators also have a key role in maintaining other ecosystem services including ensuring biodiversity and helping nature to adjust to external threats such as climate change. For these reasons, pollinators are known as a “keystone species”Ě in many terrestrial habitats.

The main threats to pollinators can be linked to disease, pesticide use, habitat loss and degradation, monocultures and the introduction of exotic species, causing concern not only among agricultural producers but conservationists as well.

The UNEP/GEF project ”ėConservation & Management of Pollinators for Sustainable Agriculture through an Ecosystem Approach’ will contribute to the conservation, sustainable use and management of pollinators by:

  1. developing and implementing tools, methodologies, strategies and best management practices for pollinator conservation and sustainable use;
  2. building local, national, regional and global capacities to enable the design, planning and implementation of interventions to mitigate pollinator population declines, and establish sustainable pollinator management practices; and
  3. promoting the coordination and integration of activities related to the conservation and sustainable use of pollinators at the international level to enhance global synergies.

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