Apimondia 2021 in Slovenia – a speech delivered by Dejan Židan, MSc, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food of the Republic of Slovenia

Dear beekeepers and all the other visitors of this website,

The Slovenes are a beekeeping nation. Beekeeping is a part of our rich history and cultural heritage, and the Carniolan honey bee is one of our national symbols that makes us all very proud. Beekeeping in Slovenia is more than just an economic activity – it is connected more and more to our way of thinking about the environment and other social issues. Joint efforts made by our beekeepers and the state in the recent years have set up a wide-spread social movement in support of protecting the bees and nature, connecting producers and consumers on the local level and using the beekeeping know-how, experience and tradition when facing modern-day challenges.

Minister Dejan Židan tried its hand at honey extraction

An example of good practice is the Honey Breakfast project, which was launched at the initiative of the Slovenian Beekeepers’ Association and which, as the years went by, was upgraded by our joint efforts into the Traditional Slovenian Breakfast and the Slovenian Food Day. This educational promotional activity, which takes place in kindergartens and elementary schools and which has been gaining ground in many other public institutions lately, is being carried out hand in hand by our state and our beekeepers. We all used this project to set foot on an international path as well and I am delighted to note that more and more countries are joining us at implementing the European Honey Breakfast.

Bee World Pavilion

Bee World Pavilion

Moreover, we continue our common international path with the initiative to declare May 20 a World Bee Day at UN level. We are currently in the middle of the formal consideration of the matter, which is a long and complicated process. We expect to hear the final decision at the United Nations General Assembly in December 2017. Before the start of the official consideration process within the UN, the initiative gained unanimous support by all the national beekeepers’ associations at the Apimondia Congress in South Korea. I would like to seize this opportunity to sincerely thank you, beekeepers from all over the world, for this support. I firmly believe that we will continue being successful and that on May 20, 2018, we will all celebrate the first observance of the World Bee Day together – a special day that both bees and beekeepers surely deserve.

Minister Dejan Židan and the Director General of the FAO José Graziano da Silva, who is a great advocate for the World Bee Day, at the Slovenian Beekeepers’ Days in Rače

In proposing declaring a World Bee Day, the Republic of Slovenia endeavours to make the world public aware as much as possible of the importance of bees for humanity, especially in terms of eradication of hunger and malnutrition and preserving the environment and biodiversity. A lot of effort has been put into making a special interactive Bee World pavilion, which has already been displayed in Rome and Berlin. In the months to come, we also plan to visit important venues in capitals around the world with it, including the Apimondia congress in Istanbul, Turkey, 29th September to 4th October 2017. We cordially invite you to visit us at the Slovenian exhibition stand.

The Slovenian minister is a great advocate for the European Honey Breakfast – he presented the initiative to the Jaroslava Beneš Špalkova, Czech Deputy Minister for Agriculture.

In Slovenia, we are truly proud of our beekeeping and of our 10,000 beekeepers that work under the umbrella of the beekeeping societies and the Slovenian Beekeepers’ Association and they are distinguished by proactiveness and a multitude of activities they carry out. We are also very proud of our young beekeepers that participate in beekeeping clubs organised in almost all the Slovenian elementary schools. We are proud of our national and international projects that are aimed at the well-being of bees and at the promotion of beekeeping. Since 2003, when we hosted the Apimondia congress in Slovenia, a lot of work has been done, and we would like to share that with you on the spot. We would also like you to discover our pristine nature and our natural beauties, which are another proof that bees have a special place in Slovenia. This is why we wish for the Apimondia congress, after almost twenty years, to once again be held in Slovenia in 2021. I believe that you will be enchanted by all the efforts and the energy that we put into taking care of the bees and beekeeping and that you will support our candidacy.