the EU approach on the pollination problem
Pollinators are a diverse group of animals that pollinate crops and wild plants. Pollination is the transfer of pollen between the male and female parts of flowers and is a vital step in the fertilization and reproduction of plants. In Europe, pollinators are primarily insects like bees, hoverflies, butterflies, moths, beetles and other fly species. Some of these species are domesticated, like for example honey bees. Nearly 4 out of 5 wild flowers need animal pollination, while more than 4 out of 5 crops benefit from it.
In the past decades, pollinators have declined in occurrence and diversity in the EU. Our understanding of the status and trends of pollinators, the threats they face and the consequences of their loss has significantly improved in recent times thanks to a growing body of research, in particular the European Red List of bees and butterflies, ALARM and STEP projects.
It is considered that multiple drivers are responsible for the decline of pollinators. According to the IPBES report direct threats to pollinators include land-use change, intensive agricultural management and pesticide use, environmental pollution, invasive alien species, pathogens and climate change.
In an attempt not only to address the issue but also find specific solutions, The EU created EU Pollinators Initiative, that sets strategic objectives and actions to be taken by the EU and its Member States to address the decline of pollinators in the region and contribute to global conservation efforts.
The initiative sets out measures to improve knowledge regarding pollinator decline (including the state of their most important habitats and a project to monitor the presence of pesticides in the environment), tackle the causes of this decline (through conservation and management approaches), and raise awareness, engage citizens and promote collaboration (with guidance and incentives, educational material and community projects).
The objectives of the EU Pollinators Initiative set a long-term perspective towards 2030, with a number of short term actions to be implemented until 2020. By the end of 2020, the Commission will review the progress on the implementation and, if necessary, propose further action.