The UN has expressed its concern at the very high mortality of bees in many parts of the world. A report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has collected and analysed the latest scientific evidence on the collapse of bee colonies.
The factors for decline mentioned in the UN report include:
• new kinds of virulent fungal pathogens that can be deadly to bees and other key pollinating insects have been detected worldwide. Their migration from one region to another was inadvertently facilitated by the increase in international travel related to globalization and the rapid growth of international trade.
• some 20,000 species of flowering plants, including many that the bee species depend on for food, could disappear in the coming decades unless conservation efforts are not quickly strengthened.
• excessive use of chemicals in agriculture, such as systemic insecticides, is harmful and toxic to bees. Some products can even be devastating for pollinators when combined. This phenomenon is called the "cocktail effect".
• climate change, if nothing is done to counter it, may further aggravate the situation even more, and in different ways: by changing the periods of flowering plants, or by moving the rainy seasons etc. This could also affect the quality and quantity of nectar production by plants, causing a vicious circle.
The report contains no recommendations.
UNEP has also co-financed the global project on "Conservation and Sustainable Use of Pollinators in Agriculture", executed by the FAO.