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    UNIS/VIC/322
    4 June 2021

    Bees welcomed to the United Nations Headquarters in Vienna, ahead of World Environment Day

    Bee Blue Project launched in partnership with City of Vienna Environment Department and Beekeepers Association Vienna

    VIENNA, 4 June (UN Information Service) – Two beehives and one insect hotel have been set up at the United Nations headquarters in Vienna today, to launch the Bee Blue Project.

    Around 50,000 honey bees will be living in the beehives in the grounds of the Vienna International Centre and wild bees will use the insect hotel. The installation will give a home to bees, one of the key pollinators in our ecosystem, threatened by pesticides and changing land use.

    The project was initiated by the Sustainable & Innovative Initiatives Club at the UN in Vienna along with the City of Vienna’s Environment Department - MA22 (Wiener Umweltschutzabteilung). The Vienna Beekeeping School in the Danube Park is a key partner and the project is supported by the Vienna Office of the UN Environment Programme and the Permanent Missions of Slovenia and Ireland.

    The project was visited today by the Director-General of the United Nations Office at Vienna (UNOV), Ghada Waly, along with the Permanent Representative of Ireland, Eoin O’Leary, the Deputy Permanent Representative of Slovenia, Natalija Raišp, the City of Vienna’s expert for nature protection, Josef Mikocki and two representatives from the Vienna Beekeepers Association, Albert Schittenhelm, President, and Adriana Traunmüller.

    Ms. Waly said: “World Environment Day 2021 is focused on restoring ecosystems, and the UN Office at Vienna is proud to contribute with Bee Blue, creating a home for bees at the Vienna International Centre and promoting the protection of these pollinators. Vienna was the first of the UN headquarters to become climate-neutral and sustainability continues to guide us in all that we do.”

    The initiative to install beehives at the UN Headquarters in Vienna is aligned with the United Nations Decade on Ecosystems Restoration (2021-2030) which is being launched globally on World Environment Day, 5 June.

    The decade aims to prevent, halt and reverse the degradation of ecosystems on every continent and in every ocean. It can help to end poverty, combat climate change and prevent a mass extinction of species. There is an urgent need to revive damaged ecosystems and everyone can play a part in this.

    The bees will be kept by a professional beekeeper, while the insect hotels and feeding grounds will be supervised by the City of Vienna’s Environment Department, at no cost to the Vienna International Centre. The honey produced by the bees will be sold by the Sustainable & Innovative Initiatives Club.

    “We’re delighted to welcome the bees to the UN Headquarters in Vienna and we consider it an invitation to the whole world to pay more attention to the small animals and plants who help to sustain our planet. We owe tiny species a lot,” said Elodie Broussard, initiator and leader of the Bee Blue project with Fabien Petit.

    Head of the UN Environment Programme Vienna Office, Harald Egerer, said: "Bees provide much more than just precious honey – they are important for ecosystem functions, food security, improved nutrition and sustainable agriculture."

    We are bringing wild bee habitats, honey-bee hives and flowers to the UN compound in Vienna – a great symbol of connecting people and nature on World Environment Day 2021, kicking off the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.”

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    Note to editors

    Photos from today's event are available for use and download here.

    About the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration

    The UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021-2030 is a rallying call for the protection and revival of ecosystems all around the world, for the benefit of people and nature. It aims to halt the degradation of ecosystems and restore them to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. The United Nations General Assembly has proclaimed the UN Decade and it is led by the United Nations Environment Programme and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. The UN Decade is building a strong, broad-based global movement to ramp up restoration and put the world on track for a sustainable future. That will include building political momentum for restoration as well as thousands of initiatives on the ground.

    About World Environment Day

    World Environment Day is the United Nations’ most important day for celebrating the environment. The theme for 2021 is ‘Ecosystem Restoration’. By shrinking the area of natural habitat for animals, we have created ideal conditions for pathogens, including coronaviruses like COVID-19, to spread. Read more at: http://worldenvironmentday.global.

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    For further information, please contact:

    Anne Thomas
    Public Information Officer, UNIS Vienna
    Mobile: (+43-699) 1459-5588
    Email: anne.thomas[at]un.org