From beekeepers to nature lovers and environmental groups, people around the world will celebrate the humble bee on Friday.
May 20 marks World Bee Day, an annual occasion designed to raise awareness of the essential role bees and other pollinators play in keeping people and the planet healthy, as well as highlight the many challenges they face today.
The government of Slovenia, with the support of Apimondia, first proposed the idea of celebrating World Bee Day in 2016, and chose May 20 to mark the birthday of Slovenian beekeeping pioneer Anton Jansa in 1734. In 2018, the UN General Assembly declared May 20 as World Bee Day.
Jansa came from a family of beekeepers in Slovenia, where it is an important agricultural activity with a long-standing tradition.
“Today bees, pollinators, and many other insects are declining in abundance,” the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations or FAO says on its website. “This day provides an opportunity for all of us — whether we work for governments, organisations or civil society or are concerned citizens — to promote actions that will protect and enhance pollinators and their habitats, improve their abundance and diversity, and support the sustainable development of beekeeping.”
Scroll through the gallery above to see beekeepers at work across the Middle East and North Africa
The theme for this year’s World Bee Day is “Bee Engaged: Celebrating the diversity of bees and beekeeping systems”.
The FAO is hosting a virtual event featuring bee and pollinator experts and practitioners from across the world to raise awareness on the importance of the wide variety of bees and sustainable beekeeping systems, the threats and challenges they face and their contribution to livelihoods and food systems.