Collecting and sharing data on bee health: towards a European Bee Partnership


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As part of European Bee Week 2017 activities, the European Parliament’s Apiculture and Bee Health Working Group – which is part of the Intergroup on Climate Change, Biodiversity, and Sustainable Development – tasked the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) to organise a scientific symposium to promote among stakeholders collaboration and data sharing for better bee health. EFSA organised the symposium ‘Collecting and sharing data on bee health: towards a European Bee Partnership’ jointly with the European Farmers and European Agri-Cooperatives, the European Professional Beekeepers Association, BeeLife the European Beekeeping Coordination and the European Crop Protection Association. In total, 130 stakeholders including beekeepers, farmers, industry, scientists, risk assessors, the public and policy makers participated in the symposium. The symposium was composed of plenaries with keynote speakers and discussion groups to address topics related to data (incentives and benefits for data sharing, data availability, access, collection, collation, management, analysis and communication). The final Plenary comprised a panel of key partners, the European Professional Beekeepers Association, the international bee network COLOSS, the NGO Pan-Europe and the European Crop Protection Association who discussed the vision of this Partnership, a platform run by stakeholders for the benefit of stakeholders to ensure ultimately that honey bees in the EU can thrive and prosper. In conclusion, there was general agreement on the overall benefits of data sharing, recognising the various challenges associated with data access and collection. There was willingness among stakeholders to work towards setting up a European Bee Partnership, facilitated by the EFSA. It was noted that this Partnership could be anchored on existing strong foundations. The methodologies first developed on honey bees should be made available, soon, to other bee species and include pollination aspects. Expertise from climatologists and social scientists, as well as support from EC (DG AGRI, Santé, ENV, RTD, CONNECT), would also be required. Finally, the success of this initiative would rely on openness, transparency and trust.

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First published in EFSA Supporting Publications
26 septembre 2017