Interactive pavilion at European Commission promoting bees
Brussels, 15 May - Slovenia opened an interactive pavilion on the life of bees at the seat of the European Commission in Brussels on Monday. Buzzing with virtual and augmented reality, the Bee World pavilion is part of Slovenia's campaign to have 20 May declared World Honeybee Day.
On display at the Berlaymont until the end of the week, the pavilion will bring the world of bees closer to visitors with videos and an app which allows them to explore the life and habits of the Carniolan honeybee.
"We made a 360-degree video so that people can really get the feel of the life in and in front of the beehive. They can even fly like bees," explained producer of the virtual and augmented reality features Marko Cafnik.
At the opening, EU Environment Commissioner Karmenu Vella, who welcomed Slovenia's initiative, highlighted the importance of bees, which are threatened by climate change and bad agricultural practices.
The host of the event, EU Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc, meanwhile said that legislation protecting all pollinators was in the making because of their importance for humans.
This was highlighted by Slovenian Beekeepers Association president Boštjan Noč, who noted that "every third bite we take is the result of pollination by bees". It is important that the world recognises the importance of bees at least once per year, he added.
Slovenia has been trying to get the World Honeybee Day declared since 2014 and Agriculture Minister Dejan Židan expects the efforts to bear fruit in December, when the UN General Assembly will have its final say on the matter.
Before that, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) has to give the initiative the green light at the 40th FAO Conference in July.
The minister believes that the bid has a 95% chance of success and that the first World Honeybee Day will be celebrated next year. Slovenia will host a global conference on bees on the eve of the first bee day, he added.