Global honey bee colony disorder and other threats to insect pollinatorsBy UNEP Division of Early Warning Assessment, 2010.This bulletin published by UNEP considers the latest scientific findings and analyses possible answers to the threats faced by insect pollinators. It asks the question: Has a ‘pollinator crisis’ really been occurring during recent decades, or are these concerns just another sign of global biodiversity decline? As the bee group is the most important pollinator worldwide, this bulletin focuses on the instability of wild and managed bee populations, the driving forces, potential mitigating measures and recommendations. Currently available global data and knowledge on the decline of pollinators are not sufficiently conclusive to demonstrate that there is a worldwide pollinator and related crop production crisis. Data indicate that global agriculture has become increasingly pollinator dependant over the last 50 years and pollination is not just a free service but one that requires investment and stewardship to protect and sustain it.
The latest updates from the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) focus on food security and agricultural resilience in dryland regions. This newsletter offers an analysis of the major policy shifts needed to combat food insecurity and desertification, in the wake of the G8 Summit vision statement on the matter. It also gives an account of the MERET programme, conducted jointly by the Ethiopian government and the UN World Food Programme, meant to improve resilience to drought through environmental rehabilitation. Of interest too is the interview of Allan Savory, founder of the Centre for Holistic Management and the Savory Institute, who sees biodiversity loss as the main cause of desertification and debunks common land management myths. He explains the scientific principles behind his holistic approach to desertification. Finally, the newsletter presents Qatar’s food security programme, meant to tackle chronic water scarcity and exploit arable land in dryland ecosystems to enable self-sufficency in food production.
The Standing Committee on Agricultural Research (SCAR) was established in 1974 by a Regulation of the Council of the EU. It is formed by representatives of Member States, and presided over by a representative of the Commission, who have a mandate to advise the Commission and the Member States on the coordination of agricultural research in Europe. The SCAR committee was given in 2005 a renewed mandate by the Council to play a major role in the coordination of agricultural research efforts across the European Research Area. The “new” SCAR is made up of the 27 EU Member States, with representatives from Candidate and Associated Countries as observers. The SCAR members currently represent 37 countries.