Building on the partnership between the Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Network (BES-Net) and the Coalition of the Willing on Pollinators (COW), also known as the Promote Pollinators, to date to through the Regional Trialogues, BES-Net is now formally recognized as a non-state member of the Coalition.
Pollinators have a crucial and increasing role in the food production process, as nearly ninety per cent of wild flowering plants need pollinators like bees to transfer pollen for successful sexual reproduction. The production volume of pollinator-dependent crops has increased threefold over the last five decades, making us more dependent on pollination. These crops include fruits and vegetables and are essential for human diets and nutrition, since they provide us with vitamins and minerals.
In 2016, the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) released a landmark Assessment Report on Pollinators, Pollination and Food Production. The report provides a comprehensive set of scientific knowledge concerning the role of native and exotic pollinators, the status of and trends in pollinators and pollination networks and services, drivers of change, impacts on human well-being, food production of pollination declines and deficits and the effectiveness of responses to pollination declines and deficits.
Driven by the IPBES Assessment, the countries, which are concerned about the decline of pollinating species and their habitat and willing to act, came together to establish COW in December 2016. The Coalition members are expected to:
- Take action to protect pollinators and their habitats in order to stop and reverse their decline through developing, facilitating (if not already done) and implementing a pollinator strategy;
- Share, in an open and transparent manner, experience and lessons learnt in developing, facilitating and implementing the pollinator strategies;
- Reach out to, and seeking collaboration with, a broad spectrum of stakeholders;
- Develop research that will help to fill knowledge gaps on the subject of pollinator conservation; and
- Mutually support and collaborate with each other and with all countries and partner organizations willing to join.
Since the launch of the IPBES report, BES-Net has been supporting the target countries in enhancing national capacity to integrate the findings and the messages of the assessments into policy, planning and on-the-ground programmes and projects. BES-Net’s unique face-to-face dialogue process, or Trialogue, brings policymakers, academic scientists and practitioners with indigenous and local knowledge together to openly exchange their expertise, experience, questions and ideas around pollinators/pollination and jointly create a common agenda of action for the conservation and sustainable use of pollinator species. The past Regional Trialogues for Eastern Europe (2017), the Caribbean (2018) and Anglophone Africa (2019) have led several governments to take a bold step to join COW and developed national pollinator strategies.
The BES-Net will continuously collarbone with the COW Secretariat to raise awareness of the coalition and jointly support the countries to work together and share knowledge. These efforts will, in turn, motivate countries to take pollinator-friendly measures and putting them into effect.