[Ipbes-stakeholder] IPBES Assessment on Pollinators, Pollination & Food production released!

Belgian IPBES Stakeholder Group registration ipbes-stakeholder at bebif.be
Sat Feb 27 16:18:06 CET 2016

Dear Colleagues,

We are happy to inform you that last Friday (26 February), the
Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services <http://www.ipbes.net> (IPBES*)
released its first assessment on *Pollinators, Pollination and Food
production *at its fourth Plenary Session in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
(22-28th February 2016**)

The study shows that a growing number of pollinator species worldwide are
being driven toward extinction by diverse pressures, many of them
human-made, threatening millions of livelihoods and hundreds of billions of
dollars worth of food supplies, according to the first global assessment of
pollinators. However, the assessment and its summary for policymakers also
highlight a number of ways to effectively safeguard pollinator populations.

This very first assessment issued by IPBES, which has major implications
for the global food supply, is a groundbreaking effort to better understand
and manage a critical element of the global ecosystem. It is also the first
assessment of its kind based on the available knowledge from science as
well as indigenous and local knowledge systems.

At the meeting’s conclusion, on Sunday 28 February, IPBES will also release
an *Assessment on Scenarios and Models of Biodiversity and Ecosystem
Services* to help guide future IPBES assessments.  The release will also
announce the plans for a new *Global Assessment*.

Please find the official IPBES Press Release below. A few more other
relevant links:
http://www.nst.com.my/news/2016/02/128812/time-protect-pollinators?d=1 (views
from the IPBES Chair);
News) and

The final documents are not yet available, but will be circulated in due
time. More information can be provided by Hendrik Segers (
hendrik.segers at naturalsciences.be) or Hilde Eggermont (
h.eggermont at biodiversity.be; available from 7 March onwards).

Best wishes,

*The Belgian IPBES Delegation @ Kuala Lumpur*:
Hilde Eggermont, IPBES-National Focal Point, Belgian Biodiversity Platform
- Royal Belgian Institute for Natural Sciences
Hendrik Segers, National Focal Point Biodiversity, Royal Belgian Institute
for Natural Sciences
Els Van De Velde, Department Environment, Nature and Energy, Flemish Region
Hans Keune, Flemish Research Institute for Nature and Forest

(*) IPBES <http://www.ipbes.net> was established in April 2012 in Panama to
protect the planet’s biodiversity, its ecosystems and the services they
provide to humanity. It provides a mechanism that should enable both the
scientific and policy communities to synthesise, review, assess and
critically evaluate relevant information and knowledge generated worldwide
by governments, academia, scientific organisations, non-governmental
organisations and indigenous communities. By doing so, it hopes to gain
similar global scientific authority and policy influences for biodiversity
to what the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has for
climate change.

(**) Daily reports of the 4th IPBES Plenary can be downloaded here

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: IPBES Secretariat <secretariat at ipbes.net>
Date: 2016-02-26 17:07 GMT+08:00
Subject: Pollinator Species, Vital to World Food Supplies, are In Decline,
Face Major Threats, Experts Warn; 1st global assessment details options for
pollinator protections


*News conference*: Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, Room 306

Friday 26 February, 10:00h GMT / 18:00h Malaysia time

*Live Webcast*: http://www.ipbes.net/ipbes-4-webcast . News conference
questions and interview requests may be submitted via media at ipbes.net

*Pollinators Vital to Our Food Supply Under Threat*

*Assessment Details Options for Safeguarding Pollinators*

Kuala Lumpur - February 26, 2016 - A growing number of pollinator species
worldwide are being driven toward extinction by diverse pressures, many of
them human-made, threatening millions of livelihoods and hundreds of
billions of dollars worth of food supplies, according to the first global
assessment of pollinators.

However, the assessment, a two-year study conducted and released today by
the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem
Services (IPBES), also highlights a number of ways to effectively safeguard
pollinator populations.

The assessment, titled *Thematic Assessment of Pollinators, Pollination and
Food Production* and the first ever issued by IPBES, is a groundbreaking
effort to better understand and manage a critical element of the global
ecosystem.  It is also the first assessment of its kind based on the
available knowledge from science as well as indigenous and local knowledge

IPBES was founded four years ago with 124 member nations to form a crucial
intersection between international scientific understanding and public
policy making.

*Pollinators are economically, socially and culturally important *

"Pollinators are important contributors to world food production and
nutritional security," said Vera Lucia Imperatriz Fonseca, Ph.D., co-chair
of the assessment and Senior Professor at University of São Paulo. "Their
health is directly linked to our own well-being."

There are more than 20,000 species of wild bees alone, plus many species of
butterflies, flies, moths, wasps, beetles, birds, bats and other animals
that contribute to pollination.

Pollinated crops include those that provide fruit, vegetables, seeds, nuts
and oils. Many of these are important dietary sources of vitamins and
minerals, without which the risks of malnutrition might be expected to
increase. Several crops also represent an important source of income in
developing countries from, for example, the production of coffee and cocoa.

"Without pollinators, many of us would no longer be able to enjoy coffee,
chocolate and apples, among many other foods that are part of our daily
lives," said Simon Potts, Ph.D., the other assessment co-chair and
Professor of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, School of Agriculture,
Policy and Development, University of Reading, UK.

More than three-quarters of the world's food crops rely at least in part on
pollination by insects and other animals.

Between US$235 billion and US$577 billion worth of annual global food
production relies on direct contributions by pollinators.

Chocolate, for example, is derived from cacao tree seed (annual world cocoa
bean crop value, US$5.7 billion).  Cecidomyiid and ceratopogonid midges are
essential for its pollination.

The volume of agricultural production dependent on animal pollination has
increased by 300 percent during the past 50 years, but pollinator-dependent
crops show lower growth and stability in yield than crops that do not
depend on pollinators.

Nearly 90 percent of all wild flowering plants depend at least to some
extent on animal pollination.

*Wandjina spirits keep country healthy for native bees and honey. 'Wandjina
and Waanungga' Australia *

*© Sandra Mungulu / Licensed by Viscopy, 2015. May be used only in
connection with media coverage of this news release *

In addition to food crops, pollinators contribute to crops that provide
biofuels (e.g. canola and palm oils), fibers (e.g cotton), medicines,
forage for livestock, and construction materials. Some species also provide
materials such as beeswax for candles and musical instruments, and arts and

Pollinators, especially bees, have also played a role throughout human
history as inspirations for art, music, religion and technology.
Additionally, they improve quality of life, globally significant heritage
sites and practices, symbols of identify, aesthetically significant
landscapes. Sacred passages about bees occur in all major world religions.

*Various factors affecting pollinators*

The assessment found that an estimated 16 percent of vertebrate pollinators
are threatened with global extinction -  increasing to 30 percent for
island species - with a trend toward more extinctions.

Although most insect pollinators have not been assessed at a global level,
regional and national assessments indicate high levels of threat,
particularly for bees and butterflies - with often more than 40 percent of
invertebrate species threatened locally.

"Wild pollinators in certain regions, especially bees and butterflies, are
being threatened by a variety of factors," said IPBES Vice Chair Sir Robert
Watson.  "Their decline is primarily due to changes in land use, intensive
agricultural practices and pesticide use, alien invasive species, diseases
and pests, and climate change."

Declines in regional wild pollinators have been confirmed for North Western
Europe and in North America.  Although local cases of decline have been
documented in other parts of the world, data are too sparse to draw broad

*Bees (such as the solitary Melissoptila tandilensis in the Argentine
Pampas, above), play an important role in the production of sunflowers and
other crop plants. Photo: Malena Sabatino*

The assessment found that pesticides, including neonicotinoid insecticides,
threaten pollinators worldwide, although the long-term effects are still
unknown. A pioneering study conducted in farm fields showed that one
neonicotinoid insecticide had a negative effect on wild bees, but the
effect on managed honeybees was less clear.

"While gaps remain in our knowledge of pollinators, we have more than
enough evidence to act," Prof. Imperatriz Fonseca said.

Pests and diseases pose a special threat to managed bees, but the risk can
be reduced through better disease detection and management, and regulations
relating to trade and movement of bees.

Genetically modified crops are usually either tolerant to herbicides or
resistant to pest insects. The former reduces the availability of weeds,
which supply food for pollinators. The latter often results in lower use of
insecticides and may reduce pressure on beneficial insects including
pollinators. However, the sub-lethal and indirect effects of GM crops on
pollinators are poorly understood and not usually accounted for in risk

Pollinators are also threatened by the decline of practices based on
indigenous and local knowledge. These practices include traditional farming
systems; maintenance of diverse landscapes and gardens; kinship
relationships that protect specific pollinators; and cultures and languages
that are connected to pollinators.

*Numerous options exist to safeguard pollinators*

"The good news is that a number of steps can be taken to reduce the risks
to pollinators, including practices based on indigenous and local
knowledge," said Zakri Abdul Hamid, elected Founding Chair of IPBES at its
first plenary meeting in 2012.

The safeguards include the promotion of sustainable agriculture, which
helps diversify the agricultural landscape and makes use of ecological
processes as part of food production.

*Specific options include:*

   - Maintaining or creating greater diversity of pollinator habitats in
   agricultural and urban landscapes;
   - Supporting traditional practices that manage habitat patchiness, crop
   rotation, and coproduction between science and indigenous local knowledge;
   - Education and exchange of knowledge among farmers, scientists,
   industry, communities, and the general public;
   - Decreasing exposure of pollinators to pesticides by reducing their
   usage, seeking alternative forms of pest control, and adopting a range of
   specific application practices, including technologies to reduce pesticide
   drift; and
   - Improving managed bee husbandry for pathogen control, coupled with
   better regulation of trade and use of commercial pollinators.

*Additional findings*

   - A high diversity of wild pollinators contributes to increased
   stability in pollination, even when managed bees are present in high

   - Crop yields depend on both wild and managed species.

   - The western honey bee is the most widespread managed pollinator in the
   world, producing an estimated 1.6 million tonnes of honey annually.
   - The number of bee hives has increased globally over the past 50 years,
   but a decrease in hives has occurred in many European and North American
   - Climate change has led to changes in the distribution of many
   pollinating bumblebees and butterflies and the plants that depend upon them.

*Carpenter bee (Xylocopa flavorufa) visiting coffee.  *

*Photo credit: Dino J. Martins*

The IPBES assessment has critically evaluated an enormous body of knowledge
on pollinators, pollination and food production to ensure decision makers
have access to the highest quality information.  The assessment was
compiled by a team of 77 experts from all over the world.  The assessment
cites approximately 3,000 scientific papers and includes information about
practices based on indigenous and local knowledge from more than 60
locations around the world.

The assessment underwent two rounds of peer review involving experts and

*Comments  *

"The growing threat to pollinators, which play an important role in food
security, provides another compelling example of how connected people are
to our environment, and how deeply entwined our fate is with that of the
natural world. As we work toward food security, it is important to approach
the challenge with a consideration of the environmental impacts that drive
the issue. Sustainable development, including improving food security for
the world's population, necessitates an approach that embraces the

*Achim Steiner, Executive Director, *

*United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP)*

"In the context of the IPBES report on pollinators, pollination and food
production, for the first time, science and indigenous knowledge have been
brought together to assess an important biodiversity-dependent service -
pollination - in support of food security and its contribution to the 2030
Agenda for Sustainable Development. UNESCO is pleased to have contributed
directly to this effort."

*Irina Bokova, Director General, UNESCO*

"Pollination services are an 'agricultural input' that ensure the
production of crops. All farmers, especially family farmers and
smallholders around the world, benefit from these services. Improving
pollinator density and diversity has a direct positive impact on crop
yields, consequently promoting food and nutrition security. Hence,
enhancing pollinator services is important for achieving the Sustainable
Development Goals, as well as for helping family farmers' adaptation to
climate change."*  -- José Graziano da Silva, Director-General, Food and
Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)*

"The complex and integrated development challenges we face today demand
that decision-making is based on sound science and takes into account
indigenous and local knowledge. Embracing science in areas such as
pollination will contribute to better informed policy choices that will
protect ecosystem services important for both food security and poverty
eradication. UNDP is proactively contributing to promoting dialogue between
scientists, policy-makers and practitioners on this and related topics,
supporting countries in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for
Sustainable Development."

*Nik Sekhran, Director/Chief of Profession, Sustainable Development, Bureau
for Policy and Programme Support, *

*United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)*


*About IPBES*

The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem
Services (IPBES) is similar to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
Change (IPCC).  It was established in April 2012 as an independent
intergovernmental body for assessing the state of the planet's
biodiversity, its ecosystems and the essential services they provide to
society.  IPBES is open to all member countries of the United Nations and
currently has 124 members.

IPBES assessments provide policymakers with scientifically credible and
independent information with which to make informed decisions about how to
protect biodiversity and ecosystem services.  The assessments also put
forth methods to interpret the findings and reflect the complex
relationships between biodiversity, ecosystem services, and people.
Although IPBES assessments lay out various policy options, they do not make
policy recommendations.

IPBES assessments are conducted by leading experts who synthesize, review,
assess and critically evaluate relevant information and knowledge generated
worldwide by governments, academia, scientific organizations,
non-governmental organizations and indigenous and local communities. IPBES
experts, who belong to organizations, institutions and the private sector
from around the world, volunteer their time.  They are selected based on
nominations from governments and interested organisations. There are
currently about 1,000 experts contributing, from all regions of the world,
to the work of IPBES.

The work of IPBES is supported by a Secretariat based in Bonn, Germany.  It
operates under the auspices of four United Nations programmes /

   - *United Nations Environmental Programme* (UNEP);
   - *United Nations Educational, Scientific and Development Organization*
   - *Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations* (FAO) and
   - *United Nations Development Programme* (UNDP).

*Media contacts:*

*Sarah Banda-Genchev*

media at ipbes.net, +49 228 815 0576 / +49 176 2538 2223 / +601 177 636890

*Lance Ignon*

lancei at citizengroup.com, +6012 230 1003, +1-415-793-8851 (m)

*Terry Collins*

tc at tca.tc, +1-416-878-8712

*Malaysia media: *

*Nik Sufini Nik Mohamed *

sufini at might.org.my, +6012 230 1003

*### *

*Apples *

*World crop value: $33.5 billion per year*

*Pollinator dependency*: Great

*Pollinator*: Honey bee (*Apis mellifera*), Asiatic honey bee (*A. cerana*),
Mining bee (*Andrena spp*.), Bumble bee (*Bombus spp*)., Hornfaced bee (*Osmia

*Mangos *

*World crop value: $14.8 billion per year*

*Pollinator dependency*: Great

*Pollinator*: Honey bee (*Apis sp.*), stingless bees (*Trigona sp.*),
flies, ants, wasps


*World crop value: $3.5 billion per year*

*Pollinator dependency*: Great

*Pollinators*: Honey bee (*Apis mellifera*), Bumble bee (*Bombus impatiens*),
Hornfaced bee (*Osmia cornuta*)

Dr. Hilde Eggermont <http://www.ecology.ugent.be/limno/HE.php> - OD
Nature, Royal
Belgian Institute for Natural Sciences <http://www.naturalsciences.be>,
Scientific coordinator of the Belgian Biodiversity Platform
<http://www.biodiversity.be/> - -  BiodivERsA <http://www.biodiversa.org/> Vice
Chair - - IPBES <http://www.biodiversity.be/ipbes> National Focal Point BE

http://vimeo.com/114955090 (data publication activities)
http://vimeo.com/114955160 (science-policy activities)
http://vimeo.com/114955193 (our general mission)
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