On World Bee Day: Slow Food Europe Part of the Action to Save the Bees


On World Bee Day, beekeepers across Europe fear that member states will undermine the ban on bee-killing neonicotinoids by opening the door to similarly harmful pesticides. Slow Food Europe is part of a joint Europe-wide action to demand bee-friendly pesticide standards in Europe.

Around 75% of global food crops rely on animal pollination. According to the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization, the UN), today’s species are facing extinction rates 100 to 1 000 times higher than normal due to human impacts. The introduction of pesticides has sent the equilibrium between agriculture and the bees into crisis, harming non-target species, leaving pesticide residue in the environment and the food chain even many years after their use. The recent FAO report on biodiversity has shown significant declines in the number of birds and insects, in particular bees and other pollinators, naming pesticides as one of the main drivers.

Slow Food Europe is concerned that, in the absence of strict European safety rules, many bee-killing pesticides will continue to be used, and more will come to the market, rendering the much-celebrated ban of three neonicotinoid pesticides in Europe last year redundant. Slow Food Europe is certain that to save the bees, the EU needs to outlaw all bee-killing pesticides, not just three of them.

Symbolically, on World Bee Day, representatives of EU Member States gather to discuss the implementation of toxicity assessment standards, known as the Bee Guidance Document, developed by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in 2013. However, EFSA only fully applied the new rules in the assessment of three neonicotinoids (imidacloprid, clothianidin, and thiamethoxam), which were banned in the EU in 2018. Until today, EU national governments have failed to endorse the use of the 2013 Bee Guidance Document in all other pesticide decisions. The EU Ombudsman has recognized recently that the process of the Bee Guidance Document adoption “constitutes maladministration” as the Commission has refused to grant public access to the positions of Members States.

Slow Food Europe actively advocates for the full implementation of the Bee Guidance Document and is part of a joint coalition of civil society organizations asking decision-makers to save the bees and for greater transparency in the risk assessment process. On May 9, the most recent joint action took place in several European cities: beekeepers and environmental groups handed in a petition signed by over 230,000 Europeans to their national agriculture ministers in 7 European capitals asking to improve the way the EU tests all new pesticides. Slow Food’s local group of beekeepers and activists addressed these concerns to the Ministry of Agriculture in Rome and, ahead of the meeting in Brussels, asked the Italian government to effectively protect bees from harmful pesticides.

On World Bee Day, Slow Food has also launched an international “Slow Bees” action, aiming to rise in defense of pollinators and provide the greater resonance, outreach, and visibility to the threats bees and other pollinators, plants and biodiversity face today. The worldwide mobilization to act will be launched online, using hashtags #onetreeforahive  #plantoneforpollinators #slowtreesforbees.

Indre Anskaityte, Slow Food Europe

New Report on World Bee Day Paints Bleak Picture of Extinction and Decline

World Bee Day: 20 May 2019



Bees and other pollinators, such as butterflies, bats and hummingbirds, are increasingly under threat from human activities.

Pollinators allow many plants, including many food crops, to reproduce. Not only do pollinators contribute directly to food security, but they are key to conserving biodiversity – a cornerstone of the Sustainable Development Goals.

To raise awareness of the importance of pollinators, the threats they face and their contribution to sustainable development, the UN designated 20 May as World Bee Day, which coincides with the birthday of Anton Janša, who in the 18th century pioneered modern beekeeping techniques in his native Slovenia and praised the bees for their ability to work so hard, while needing so little attention.

2018 was the first observance of World Bee Day.

2019 celebrations

The main purpose of the events is to spread awareness of the significance of bees and other pollinators for our survival. We must realise that simply proclaiming World Bee Day does not do much for bees and other pollinators; the main work aiming towards their preservation still needs to be undertaken and World Bee Day is an excellent opportunity in this regard. Beekeepers and nature conservationists would like to ask everybody to help improve the conditions for bees, thus improving conditions for the survival of people. No major steps are needed; what counts is each and every action that facilitates the existence of bees.



Every individual can contribute to the preservation of bees and other pollinators:

  • Plant nectar-bearing flowers for decorative purposes on balconies, terraces, and gardens.
  • Buy honey and other hive products from your nearest local beekeeper.
  • Raise awareness among children and adolescents on the importance of bees and express your support for beekeepers.
  • Set up a pollinator farm on your balcony, terrace, or garden; you can either make it yourself or buy at any home furnishings store.
  • Preserve old meadows – which feature a more diverse array of flowers – and sow nectar-bearing plants.
  • Cut grass on meadows only after the nectar-bearing plants have finished blooming.
  • Offer suitable farming locations for the temporary or permanent settlement of bees so that they have suitable pasture; as a consequence, they will pollinate our plants, which will thereby bear more fruit.
  • Use pesticides that do not harm bees, and spray them in windless weather, either early in the morning or late at night, when bees withdraw from blossoms.
  • Mulch blooming plants in orchards and vineyards before spraying them with pesticides so that they do not attract bees after being sprayed.


Fascination of Plants Day 18 May 2019

The 18th of May will be the 5th international Fascination of Plants Day, organised by thousands of scientists, teachers, companies and farmers under the umbrella of EPSO to celebrate plants in all their diversity and wonder.

The goal of this activity is to get as many people as possible around the world fascinated by plants and enthused about the importance of plant science for agriculture and sustainable production of nutritious food, as well as for horticulture, forestry and the production of plant-based non-food products such as paper, timber, chemicals, energy and pharmaceuticals.

Many plant science institutions, universities, schools, botanical gardens and museums, together with farmers and industry, have opened their doors during the Fascination of Plants Day in 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2017.

This year the events will be held worldwide on and around the international Fascination of Plants Day on 18th May 2019. Already 49 countries have confirmed their participation. Many plant science institutions, universities, botanical gardens, and museums, together with farmers and companies, will open their doors with a variety of plant-based interactive events for all the family. Find out what will happen near you and who to contact on your country’s page at www.plantday18may.org.

EU Green Week 2019


EU Green Week 2019 takes place from 13 to 17 May. The official opening event – to be attended by the European Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella and by the Marshal of the Mazowieckie Region, Adam Struzik – will be hosted by the Mazowieckie Region and held in Warsaw, Poland on 13 May.

The EU Green Week high-level conference is scheduled for 15 to 17 May in Brussels. Open to environmental stakeholders and the wider public, it also includes the European Week for Waste Reduction award ceremony hosted by the EU Committee of the Regions and the LIFE award ceremony on 15 and 16 May respectively.

An occasion for discussion

Organised by the European Commission Directorate-General for the Environment for nearly 20 years and attracting leading figures from across the globe, Green Week is the biggest annual occasion for discussion of EU environmental policy. It fosters debate among European-, national- and local-level stakeholders in order to generate input into policymaking and implementation.

These debates support the growth of a Europe-wide community of actors involved in environmental capacity building and sharing of practices, as well as motivating citizens to engage with EU environmental efforts and make their own contributions.

The 2019 theme

EU environmental laws have a huge impact on our lives. They improve water and air quality, protect nature and encourage recycling. But to make a real difference, they must be implemented in full.

On 27 March 2019, the European Commission published a set of reports on the state of implementation of environmental laws in Europe: the Environmental Implementation Review. EU Green Week 2019 will weigh up the findings of this Review, asking questions like: How do EU environmental laws benefit citizens? What does successful implementation look like? Why and where do implementation gaps exist? How can stakeholders take ownership of EU laws? And how can the EU facilitate this while making sure citizens’ voices are heard?

Partner events

Like every year, the EU Green Week will include many partner events organised around Europe in April and May by a large variety of stakeholders, including local authorities, NGOs and businesses. Examples include: a mock trial on a problem related to application of environmental legislation organised by students at Lyon Law School on 26 April; a living lab

in Gothenburg on 8 May, which enables suppliers of fossil-free products to present them to potential buyers such as Hoppet, a fossil-free preschool; and the Know What’s Below workshop on underwater heritage conservation on 15 to 19 May, largely held on a boat off Italy’s Aegadian Islands.

#MyGreenAction challenge

Running from 21 March to 10 May, the #MyGreenAction challenge invites young Europeans to share photos, videos or illustrations of actions they take to ensure a greener future via their own Instagram or Twitter accounts, or below official European Commission #MyGreenAction challenge Facebook posts. Every two weeks, three submissions will be chosen to feature on Commission social media channels and the best 10 entries overall will be included in a summary video to be shown at the EU Green Week.

European elections

EU Green Week 2019 takes place during the run-up to the European elections on 23 to 26 May. By demonstrating the added value of the EU’s environmental work in recent years, it represents an opportunity to promote fully informed democratic engagement (especially among first-time voters).

See more:

The EU Environmental Implementation Review: Common challenges and how to combine efforts to deliver better results


It’s Never Too Early to Start Interest How You Can Protect Nature


On April 30, Via Pontica Foundation, together with the leadership and students from the Primary School “Mihail Lakatnik” Bourgas, organized an ecological event on the territory of the Ecopark for Biodiversity and Alternative Tourism “Vaya” in the context of the World Migratory Bird Days – a world raise of awareness campaign. You could learn more about the initiative at worldmigratorybirdday.org. Five different locations were designated on the territory of the park, which allowed us to engage children in the following activities: bird watching, scouting, beekeeping , applied arts and treasure hunting.



In line with the World Migratory birds’ days, we thoroughly explained how and when bird migration happens. During the interactive talk, all children got acquainted with rare and protected bird species on the territory of the Ecopark, the necessary equipment for their observation, and other curious facts about the nesting and migratory bird populations.




One of the highlights of the event were the scouting lessons on how to survive in nature and how to use and behave responsibly towards natural resources. What are the basic tricks that the experienced scouts use, and how important our pre-training is.





Students also had the opportunity to get acquainted with the different types of beehives, to observe a special demonstration, glass beehive and to taste the organic production of our own beehives. This sweet experince was meant to emphasize on the importance of bee families for human existence and to teach small visitors that their conservation is of vital importance.





The applied arts and sport activities that complimented the enjoyable experience, also gave us the opportunity to grasp and process everything learned in the course of the environmental education that took place during the event.





Up to new meetings in our shared care for nature!




Earth Day 2019 – Protect Our Species



According to Earth Day Network, this year’s Earth Day is dedicated to protecting species and raising awareness about the accelerating rate of extinction. Earth Day was first celebrated in the US in the 1970s, and went global by the 1990s — it is now celebrated in at least 192 countries. The idea of commemorating such a day was propounded by Gaylord Nelson, a US senator from Wisconsin. Nelson, who had been a witness to the devastation caused by an enormous oil spill in Santa Barbara, California in 1969, felt the urgency of the matter.

More than 1 billion people from 192 countries now participate in Earth Day activities each year, making it the largest civic observance in the world.

Bulgaria is one of the first countries to join the International Day of the Earth Day since 1990. Blagovest Sendov is represented in the International Organizing Committee for the celebration. He formed a National Earth Day Committee.
On April 22, 1992, the President of the Republic of Bulgaria, Zhelyu Zhelev, signed the oath in the name of the Earth. More than 30,000 Bulgarian children are signatories under the Earth Declaration of Living Terms. The document was submitted to the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, held in Rio de Janeiro in June 1992.

Each year, the Earth Day Network is focusing on a topical theme related to the conservation of the planet. The motto of the campaign this year is “Protect our species”.


Here is the call
of the Earth Day Network:


“In nature, nothing exists alone.”

— Rachel Carson, 1962


Nature’s gifts to our planet are the millions of species that we know and love, and many more that remain to be discovered. Unfortunately, human beings have irrevocably upset the balance of nature and, as a result, the world is facing the greatest rate of extinction since we lost the dinosaurs more than 60 million years ago. But unlike the fate of the dinosaurs, the rapid extinction of species in our world today is the result of human activity.

The unprecedented global destruction and rapid reduction of plant and wildlife populations are directly linked to causes driven by human activity: climate change, deforestation, habitat loss, trafficking and poaching, unsustainable agriculture, pollution and pesticides to name a few. The impacts are far reaching.

If we do not act now, extinction may be humanity’s most enduring legacy. Here are some quick facts on the current wave of extinction and additional information about this problem here.

All living things have an intrinsic value, and each plays a unique role in the complex web of life. We must work together to protect endangered and threatened species: bees, coral reefs, elephants, giraffes, insects, whales and more.

The good news is that the rate of extinctions can still be slowed, and many of our declining, threatened and endangered species can still recover if we work together now to build a united global movement of consumers, voters, educators, faith leaders, and scientists to demand immediate action.

Earth Day Network is asking people to join our Protect our Species campaign. Our goals are to:

  • Educate and raise awareness about the accelerating rate of extinction of millions of species and the causes and consequences of this phenomenon.
  • Achieve major policy victories that protect broad groups of species as well as individual species and their habitats.
  • Build and activate a global movement that embraces nature and its values.
  • Encourage individual actions such as adopting plant based diet and stopping pesticide and herbicide use.


Training for Beneficiaries from the 1st Call for Proposals of Joint Operational Programme Black Sea Basin 2014-2020


To ensure the premises for a smooth implementation of the projects contracted within the framework of the 1st Call for proposals of Joint Operational Programme Black Sea Basin 2014-2020, programme management structures organised a training session dedicated to the beneficiaries from the 1st Call for proposals.

The Black Sea Basin Programme 2014-2020 is part of European Union’s Cross-Border Cooperation (CBC) under its European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI).

ENI CBC receives funding from ENI as well as from the European Regional Development Fund and the Instrument for Pre-Accession which is pooled together. All sources of funding may be used on either side of the EU external border for actions of common benefit.

The Black Sea Basin ENI CBC programme 2014-2020 builds upon the previous cooperation framework, the Black Sea Basin ENPI CBC programme 2007-2013, under which 62 projects were awarded and implemented in 8 countries surrounding the Black Sea Basin.

The target groups for the event were the lead beneficiaries and the beneficiaries of the contracted projects within the first call for proposals.

The event was held in Bucharest, Romania, on 16-17 April 2019. The training session was aimed to enhance capacity of beneficiaries and to provide them a summary of the Project Implementation Manual with focus on general rules for project implementation; internal and external communication; project financial management, irregularities, fraud and corruption; reporting; modification of the grant contract; project monitoring, expenditures verifications and on-the-spot verifications.

The project “Innovative Techniques and Methods for Reducing Marine Litter in the Black Sea Coastal Areas”, priority 2.2. “Awareness Raising and Joint Actions for Reducing River and Marine Litter”, Joint Operational Programme “Black Sea Basin 2014-2020” was represented by the Chairman of the Board of the Via Pontica Foundation, Ms. Ina Agafonova, Bulgaria – Leading Partner and Ms. Raluka Trandafir of Ovidius University of Constanța, Romania- Partner.

EU Parliament Seals Ban on Throwaway Plastics by 2021



On Wednesday, Parliament approved a new law banning single-use plastic items such as plates, cutlery, straws and cotton buds sticks.

560 MEPs voted in favour of the agreement with EU ministers, 35 against and 28 abstained.

The following products will be banned in the EU by 2021:

  • Single-use plastic cutlery (forks, knives, spoons and chopsticks)
  • Single-use plastic plates
  • Plastic straws
  • Cotton bud sticks made of plastic
  • Plastic balloon sticks
  • Oxo-degradable plastics and food containers and expanded polystyrene cups

New recycling target and more responsibility for producers

Member states will have to achieve a 90% collection target for plastic bottles by 2029, and plastic bottles will have to contain at least 25% of recycled content by 2025 and 30% by 2030.

The agreement also strengthens the application of the polluter pays principle, in particular for tobacco, by introducing extended responsibility for producers. This new regime will also apply to fishing gear, to ensure that manufacturers, and not fishermen, bear the costs of collecting nets lost at sea.

The legislation finally stipulates that labelling on the negative environmental impact of throwing cigarettes with plastic filters in the street should be mandatory, as well as for other products such as plastic cups, wet wipes and sanitary napkins.


Lead MEP Frédérique Ries (ALDE, BE) said: “This legislation will reduce the environmental damage bill by €22 billion – the estimated cost of plastic pollution in Europe until 2030.

Europe now has a legislative model to defend and promote at international level, given the global nature of the issue of marine pollution involving plastics. This is essential for the planet.”


According to the European Commission, more than 80% of marine litter is plastics. The products covered by this new law constitute 70% of all marine litter items. Due to its slow rate of decomposition, plastic accumulates in seas, oceans and on beaches in the EU and worldwide. Plastic residue is found in marine species – such as sea turtles, seals, whales and birds, but also in fish and shellfish, and therefore in the human food chain.


Second Workshop on the BSB552 / RedMarLitter Project Was Held



A second workshop was held in Burgas between 19-22 March 2019 within the project “Innovative Techniques and Methods for Reducing Marine Litter in the Black Sea Coastal Areas”, priority 2.2. “Awareness Raising and Joint Actions for Reducing River and Marine Litter”, Joint Operational Programme “Black Sea Basin 2014-2020” .



The project partners from Bulgaria, Romania and Georgia gathered at the Business Incubator in Burgas and discussed the progress of the project and the forthcoming activities for its implementation.



Following an introduction by the Lead Partner the Via Pontica Foundation and the adoption of the agenda, the meeting continued in a working format in the form of a consultation and discussing the work schedule activities that have been carried out so far, as well as the necessary next steps.



On 21.03. Burgas Municipality presented the developed Internet platform for the project, its structure and design. The partners had the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the functionalities and in real time, testing the control panel with their own accounts.



During the meeting the partners met with academic representatives from Burgas in the face of the experts of the University “Prof. Dr. Zlatarov “- Department of Ecology and Environmental Protection, which annually organize the conference “To think ecologically about the future”.



The motto of the conference is in line with the project’s goals and for their colleagues from Georgia and Romania, project partners, it was important and interesting to exchange knowledge and experience related to pollution of Black Sea basin waters.



As part of the event’s program, the Via Pontica Foundation organized a visit to the Ecological Park for Biodiversity and Alternative Tourism “Vaya” – a promising project of the Via Pontica Foundation, fully committed to the care of nature and protection of the ecological diversity.




Regional Stakeholders Seminar “Towards a Common Maritime Agenda for the Black Sea”


Following the 2018 Burgas Ministerial Declaration towards a Common Maritime Agenda for the Black Sea, the Facility for Blue Growth organized the Regional stakeholder seminar on blue economy. The seminar took place on 19 March 2019 in Istanbul, Turkey. It was attended by representatives of Via Pontica Foundation.



The Seminar was organised with the support of the European Commission and the Black Sea Economic Cooperation, Permanent International Secretariat (BSEC PERMIS).

Following a series of national roundtables in various Black Sea coastal countries, was given the opportunity to hear different opinions and views on areas of mutual interest and the actions needed to support the blue economy in the region.



The discussions were organised around the following topics:

  • Research and innovation;
  • Maritime connectivity;
  • Fisheries and aquaculture;
  • Sustainability;
  • Coastal and maritime tourism;
  • Blue careers and skills.



The seminar gathered policy experts, scientists, entrepreneurs and regional organisations to debate on the challenges and opportunities for cooperation on marine and maritime affairs in the Black Sea and which also sought to identify joint actions to support an innovative, resilient and sustainable blue economy in the region.