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Insect mortality: EU Commission to take action
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One in ten pollinating insects is on the verge of extinction and one third of bee and butterfly species are declining. Pollination is one of the key processes in nature that allows plants to multiply. In the EU alone, four out of five plant and wild flower species depend on insect pollination. Pollinators are mainly insects, especially bees and hoverflies, but also butterflies, moths, some beetles and other flying insects. Almost 15 billion euros of the EU's annual agricultural production are directly attributed to insect pollinators. This is how the EU describes the precarious situation.
Commission proposes action plan and citizens' awareness-raising
According to the EU Press Office, the following new measures are proposed: a new indicator to improve monitoring and data and better coordination of EU action in different sectors and policy areas to counter the social and economic impact of the decline in pollinating insects. The Commission also proposes to launch a project to monitor the presence of pesticides in the environment. Horizon 2020 will continue to support research and innovation in this area.
Action plans for the habitats of the most endangered pollinating insects and protection and management concepts will be developed to tackle the causes of the decline. Citizens should also be sensitised and actively involved. The Commission is also said to guide and encourage businesses, particularly in the agri-food sector, to contribute to conservation.
Environment Commissioner, Karmenu Vella, said: "Pollinators are an excellent health check for ecosystems." If they are not well, we can be sure that biodiversity in general is not well, and that is bad news. Phil Hogan, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, comments: "The future of our farmers and the well-being of our rural communities depends on healthy ecosystems with rich biodiversity. The untiring work of insect pollinators makes this wealth possible. While their work is free, it is invaluable for maintaining the flow of goods and services from nature that underpin our existence. We must act urgently to stop their decline."
This new initiative on pollinators is the Commission's response to the demands of the European Parliament and the Member States. The objectives of the EU initiative for pollinators set a long-term perspective for 2030 with a number of short-term measures to be implemented by 2020. By the end of 2020, the Commission will review progress on implementation and propose further measures as appropriate.
The proposals are summarised in the EU initiative paper on combating the decline of wild pollinating insects.