Leading researchers from around the world met in London last week for a three-day “summit” on the impact of pesticides on bee health. The meeting – which included experts from academia, industry and government, as well as beekeepers and conservation organisations – focused on the latest research in bee health, in an attempt to build a consensus on this controversial area.
In 2013 the EU introduced a two-year moratorium on use of some neonicotinoids on crops attractive to bees. Despite support for the moratorium by the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee, the UK voted against the ban and the agrochemical industry is challenging the moratorium in the European Court of Justice.
Co-organized by Dr Christopher Connolly of the University of Dundee, the meeting reflected the seriousness and scale of the problem facing bees and other insect pollinators. Chris remarked, “Global food security depends on healthy pollinators, and pollinator populations across the world are suffering declines. The scientific community needs to work together if we are to improve our understanding of the complex causes driving these declines.”
The conference was held at the same time as a National Farmers Union Summit in Warwickshire and you can listen to Professor Dave Goulson (University of Sussex, UK) discuss the impact of pesticides on bee health on Farming Today, BBC Radio 4. (Available until 30 January 2014).
The conference ended with an open debate session bringing together key stakeholders and journalists in an open forum. The debate was streamed live but is now freely available.
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