New efforts to protect bees

European agriculture ministers agreed on 28 June 2021 on how to take into account when assessing pesticides their effect on bee colonies, paving the way for new measures against the decay of these insects crucial for pollination.

“Maximum reduction rate” of bee colony size of 10%

Pesticides can only be approved in the EU if “comprehensive risk assessment“proved the absence of adverse effects on human health and”unacceptable“on the environment, but the criteria for assessing the impact on bees have not changed since 2002, according to the European Commission. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) seized in March 2019. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has developed several scenarios for setting “Specific objectives“Protection of honey bees in pesticide evaluation.

Among the various methods proposed, the Ministers of the Twenty-Seven, who met in Luxembourg, concluded on 28 June that setting a reduction threshold was “acceptable“size of bee colonies”offered sufficient protection“, it is stated in a press release. Although the states were initially very divided at the level of this threshold, they finally agreed on it.”maximum reduction rate “ 10% of the size of bee colonies across the EU. Therefore, a larger decline in the bee population would be considered critical. Several states are praying for a further lowering of this threshold.

Collapse of insect pollinator populations

Ministers agreed on the need to increase the EU’s ambitions to protect honey bees, while ensuring that countries can implement measures“, according to the UN, quoted by the European Council, bees pollinate 71 out of 100 farmed species that provide 90% of the world’s food. However, in recent years the collapse of pollination populations of insects, very sensitive to pesticides, On June 28, the French government launched a “pollinator plan” aimed at combating bee decay – a plan promised by Paris in August 2020 following the temporary reintroduction of neonicotinoid insecticides, qualified as a “bee killer” for beet cultivation. the French plan provides for a risk assessment of all pesticides, including herbicides and fungicides, for pollinators with the aim of possibly restricting or even banning the treatment of attractive flower crops, currently only applicable to insecticides.

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