European Commission’s Pollinators Initiative must address intensive agriculture, pesticide use and land use change
Resolute action is therefore needed to halt the decline of pollinators and the pollination service they provide. The Pollinators Initiative must not shy away from addressing the real drivers and pressures behind pollinator decline, including intensive agriculture, pesticide use and land use change. This initiative must introduce measurable changes benefiting pollinators and biodiversity at large scale by protecting and restoring pollinators’ habitats. Only then can we ensure the long-term sustainability of pollination in Europe.
The pollinators initiative should as a priority include measures to:
1) restore essential pollinators’ habitats and increase their connectivity in agricultural landscapes;
2) address harmful subsidies and incentives in the Common Agriculture Policy and replace them with incentives for practices benefitting pollinators;
3) prevent the harmful impact of pesticides by ensuring their sustainable use, reviewing the pesticides approval process, and addressing the problem of abusive derogations and lack of transparency on the actual use of pesticides in the EU.
Pollinators such as bees, bumblebees, butterflies and other insects play a critical role in healthy ecosystems, and they are essential for our food production. More than three quarters of the world’s food crops are in part dependent on pollination, and in Europe, crop pollination, is estimated to be worth EUR 15 billion annually. Yet, pollinators are dying. The IUCN European Red List of Threatened Species showed that 9% of wild bees and of butterflies, and as many as 24% of Europe’s bumblebee species are now threatened with extinction.
More detailed, joint recommendations on the Pollinators Initiative from members of the European Habitats Forum (EHF), can be found here.
The European Commission’s public consultation on the European Pollinators Initiative continues until 5 April 2018.