Key Pollinators for Food Security and Biodiversity To Be Protected By $27 Million Global Environment Facility Project


A new project worth $26.45 million has been launched by  the  Global  Environment  Facility  (GEF)  to  better  protect  bees,  bats and birds that are essential to the world’s crop production.                                                    

A European honey bee (Apis mellifera) extracts nectar from an Aster flower using its proboscis. Tiny hairs covering the bee's body maintain a slight electrostatic charge, causing pollen from the flower's anthers to stick to the bee, allowing for pollination when the bee moves on to another flower. Photo by John Severns. Wikipedia

A new project worth $26.45 million has been launched by  the  Global  Environment  Facility  (GEF)  to  better  protect  bees,  bats and birds that are essential to the world’s crop production.                                                     

The unique five-year project -- “Conservation & Management of Pollinators for Sustainable Agriculture through an Ecosystem Approach”, which will be implemented through the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) -- will help ensure food security through the protection of the key pollinator species.                                                                 


The project is coordinated by the Food and Agriculture Organization on United  Nations (FAO) and will  be  executed   through  partnerships with the Governments of Brazil, Ghana, India, Kenya, Nepal, Pakistan and South Africa in collaboration with stakeholders from different environment and  agricultural  communities  at  national  and  international level, including ministries,  research  institutions,  agencies,  academia,   NGOs,  private sector and farming



The GEF will contribute $7.8 million and leverage another $18.65 million from other partners which include multilateral organizations, Governments and academic institutions.              


In recent months, the decline and even collapse of important pollinator populations like honey bees have been detailed in scientific journals and in news reports.                           



Orange Awlet an uncommon butterfly found in the forests of Assam, India. Photo by MV Nair of the Butterfly Northeast.





Pollinators such as birds, bees, butterflies, bats and even mosquitoes are essential for food production because  they  transfer  pollen  between  seed plants-impacting 35 per cent of the world’s  crops.  As a result, farmers and consumers alike strongly rely on these “pollinators” for their very survival.                                                                       


Along with providing  an essential service to human populations, pollinators also have a key role in  maintaining  other  ecosystem  services  including ensuring biodiversity and helping nature to adjust  to external threats such as climate change. For these reasons, pollinators are known as a “keystone species” in many terrestrial habitats.                                


The  main  threats  to  pollinators  can be linked to disease, pesticide use, habitat loss and  degradation,  monocultures  and  the  introduction of exotic species, causing concern not only  among agricultural producers but conservationists as well.                                     


The UNEP/GEF project  ‘Conservation  & Management of Pollinators for Sustainable Agriculture  through  an  Ecosystem  Approach’  will  contribute  to  the conservation, sustainable use and  management of pollinators by:                                                                  

     1.  Developing and implementing tools, methodologies, strategies and best management practices for pollinator conservation and sustainable use;                               

     2.  Building local, national, regional and global capacities to enable the design, planning and implementation of  interventions  to  mitigate pollinator population declines, and establish sustainable pollinator management practices; and 


    3.  Promoting the coordination and integration of activities related to the conservation and sustainable use of pollinators at the international level to enhance global synergies.   



Many species of bats are both beneficial pollinators and control agricultural pests. The Mexican Free-tailed Bat is widely regarded as one of the most abundant mammals in North America and is not on any federal lists. It is believed that these bats are feeding on migrating cotton bollworm moths, a severe agricultural pest according to McCracken, Gary F: "Bats Aloft: A Study of High-Altitude Feeding", BATS Magazine, Vol. 14, No. 3, pages 7-10. Bat Conservation International, Inc, 1996. One of the most cost-effective ways to help this highly beneficial bat is through key roost protection, public education, and provision of "bat-friendly" bridge designs and other artificial roosts. Photo is of A Mexican free-tailed bat living in the Van Horn Maintenance Shop of the Texas Department of Transportation. Source: Wikipedia




Cotton bollworm. The larva of the moth Helicoverpa zea (formerly in the genus Heliothis) is a major agricultural pest. It can feed on many different plants (i.e. it is polyphagous) during the larval stage. Accordingly, the species has been given many different common names. When the larva consumes cotton, it is known as the cotton bollworm. Cotton bollworm. Photo by Scott Bauer for USDA. Wikipedia


































The GEF unites 178 countries in partnership with international institutions, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and the private sector to address global environmental issues while supporting national sustainable development initiatives. Today the GEF is the largest funder of  projects to improve the global environment. An independent financial organization, the GEF  provides  grants  for  projects related to biodiversity, climate change, international waters,  land  degradation,  the  ozone  layer,  and persistent organic pollutants. Since 1991, GEF has  achieved  a  strong  track  record  with  developing countries and countries with economies in  transition,  providing $7.6 billion in grants and leveraging $30.6 billion in co-financing for  over 2,000 projects in over 165 countries.                                                     




At the GEF Secretariat in Washington DC, USA

Christian Hofer


Andrea Kutter



The White Dragontail is an amazing swallowtail that inhabits the rainforests of Assam, India. Originally published on Horizon Solutions Site. Photo by Maan Barau



For more on butterflies on the Horizon Solutions Site see:

Conservation of Butterflies in Assam, India: Setting example for worldwide efforts.”


Horizon International and Butterfly Conservation in Assam, India, Successfully Launch Initiative


Study Shows In Monarch Butterflies Cry2 Is King of the Clock


Negros Rainforest Conservation Project

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