Nigeria marked a buzzing celebration of World Bee Day 2021 with a two-day event, with the aim of raising awareness about the immense value that bees and pollinators bring to the diverse facets of life as we know it.
Partnering with the Federal Ministry of Environment, the Biodiversity Education and Resource Centre, and the Nigeria Trialogue Working Group, the UNDP Global Policy Centre on Resilient Ecosystems and Desertification’s (GC-RED) BES-Net project and UNDP Nigeria joined hands and hosted an art exhibition and competition on 20 May 2021. With the financial support of the German Federal Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, the event brought together 135 students from 9 schools across the Federal Capital Territory to depict their commitment for bees and pollinators and their promise to conserve and protect these valuable species. The organizing partners have been key players in driving Nigeria’s Trialogue process and implementing its Action Plan on Pollinators and Land Degradation Neutrality.
Speaking at the art exhibition virtually, Anne Juepner, Director of UNDP GC-RED, spoke about the value that art brings to the conversation around conservation. “Art helps us recalibrate our future relationship with nature and inspires us to do more.” Highlighting the importance of bees, she noted, “Many of us have seen bees flying around busily in flowering seasons. These elegant dances of bees in the golden dress of pollen are essential to grow the crops we eat and use regularly, such as cocoa, nuts, mango coffee, tomato, avocado, cotton, and many more.”
The art exhibition and competition was inaugurated by the Hon. Minister of State for Environment in Nigeria, Sharon Ikeazor, who inspired the students present. “Bees are essential partners in helping us achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, yet their populations are decreasing and in severe threat from pollution. This trend is a threat to our food security.”
The exhibition also featured welcome and goodwill messages from the British High Commission, the Nigerian Conservation Foundation and youth and farmers’ advocates. The exhibition felicitated three winners from Primary, Junior Secondary and Senior Secondary School categories, as “Eco-heroes” from the following Eco Clubs: GMSS Jikwoyi, GSTC Garki Abuja, Funtaj International School, Asokoro.
The art exhibition was preceded by a webinar hosted by the Nigeria Trialogue Working Group on 19 May 2021 assessing the state of bees and pollinators, BES-Net’s wide experience in different countries and Nigeria’s recently approved Action Plan to protect endangered pollinators. Nigeria’s commitment towards raising awareness about its pollinators and its conservation efforts was also evident in 2020’s World Bee Day with a successful social media campaign raising awareness about the importance of pollinators for sustainable development and the threats that they face.