Serbia: BEE Active

May 20th is international BEE day – We celebrate our natural pollinators!

A bee approaching a flower
©Michał Bińkiewicz

Think of your favorite fruit or vegetable, or tree or favorite flower. We owe it to the bees for all the pictures that come to our minds. The bees, as pollinators, play such an important role in every aspect of the ecosystem. Remember this: Without them our gardens would be bare and our plates would be empty.

In 2019, the Earthwatch Institute at the Royal Geographical Society of London, has declared bees to be the most important living beings on the planet. More than 70% of the world’s flora and fauna depend on bees, where pollination is one of their most important functions: they help plants reproduce.

Nowadays, beespecies are becoming endangered. The most common reason for decreasing bee populations is the inappropriate use of pesticides, lack of flowers and flowering plants as well as deforestation. 

Urban nature

Having in mind the significance of bees as pollinators but also the important role they play for preserving species of wild plants and wild habitats, producing honey as a food source and contributing to the enrichment the biodiversity, the Dutch Embassy is supporting the project called “BEE Activist”. By doing so, we support a bee-friendly area in Belgrade and in Serbia.

The project strengthens the biodiversity of the ecosystem, and promotes the wellbeing of bees. The Embassy supports the concept of “rewilding” cities and encourages the participation of a wide audience in promoting this concept: from citizens to decision makers and relevant stakeholders. Our intention is to bring nature back to urban areas, make cities more resilient in the context of climate change, but also to increase the biodiversity of the urban areas and consequently create better quality of life for nature and people.

The Green Groove

The project “Bee Activist” is also marking the start of the “Green Groove” activity of the Netherlands Embassy in Belgrade, a year-long activity about connection, innovation and inspiration, but most of all, about loving a green life and our environment. Environment-related issues are increasingly gaining public attention in Serbia due to numerous pollution problems, media attention, general awareness and citizens’ activism, as well as the start of the implementation of the EU Green Agenda and the City of Belgrade’s bid to compete for the title of European Green Capital 2022.

“The Groove” as a movement, is very future-oriented and advocates for zero indifference towards pollution of any kind. It also encourages people to embrace a green future.

Future activities in this area include:

  • Bee Activist (urban bee garden).
  • SkyCleaner (Smog Tower), a donation by a Serbian company to the City of Belgrade. SkyCleaner was designed by the Dutch studio of Daan Roosegaarde known for creating “landscapes of the future”
  • Horticultural training center in Ruma (Dutch – Serbian business cooperation)
  • A Green week: A week of different green and sustainable activities organized by the Green Cities Serbia project,
  • Blue-Green Cities Dialogue – efforts to match water-related challenges in the region to the Dutch solutions together with the Netherlands Water Partnership
Tulips
©Mila Mirkovic
Most of our flora depends on natural pollinators.

The Embassy doesn’t want to impose the “green” living concept, but rather to show how the benefits of shifting one’s perspective and making a step in the direction of living a healthier life.

The Green Groove activities promote creativity and imagination and have the goal to create a dynamic natural environment where green is part of the city’s identity and where citizens are active stakeholders - creating a more sustainable future.

Green Groove engages various target groups: cities and governments, businesses, knowledge institutions and citizens of all ages. Everyone can contribute in developing better urban environments. We want to share green ideas and the best practices from the Netherlands in order to make an impact.

Business touch

The Netherlands Embassy will make use of its two ongoing PIB projects – public-private partnerships supported by the Dutch government which have the aim to “go greener” . The PIB project “Green Cities Serbia” will share vast Dutch expertise on how greenery improves the environment, ensure rich biodiversity, reduce air pollution, ensure water storage, dampen noise and so on. It will also share the Dutch model of cooperation that we like to call “the golden triangle” – cooperation between the business sector, the government and the science.

With the other PIB project, “Netherlands solutions for the Serbian Soft Fruit Sector”, it’s not only new technologies that will be presented to Serbian farmers, but also, the necessity of preserving the environment for natural pollinators (bees, bumblebees and other pollinators) will be highlighted.

Nature-inclusive urban development, as well as adequate agricultural practices are equally important in preserving the acceptable environment for pollinators. It is estimated that 76% of the food we consume each day relies on pollination, mainly by bees and other insects and birds.

Let us remind you of the well-known fact: “if bees go extinct, humans will have four more years to live”. Keep this in mind and BEE ACTIVE.