UNESCO Inspiration

Women for Bees is a state-of-the-art female beekeeping entrepreneurship programme launched by UNESCO and Guerlain

Guerlain announces second annual global bee conservation campaign

20 MAY 2022

In conjunction with World Bee Day and the International Day for Biological Diversity on May 20 and 22, respectively, Guerlain is building on its commitments to protecting bees, the symbol of the House and a sentinel of the health of our environment. Following the success of last year’s edition – which saw the addition of three new partnerships – Guerlain is renewing its global campaign to help protect bees and preserve biodiversity.

The bee has been a boundless source of creative inspiration for Guerlain since it first adorned the iconic Guerlain Bee Bottle in 1853. For more than ten years, the Guerlain for Bees Conservation Program has worked to protect these precious pollinators. From May 20-22 Guerlain is setting out to achieve the same goal as in 2021, raise a million euros in just three days to further strengthen this conservation initiative. Guerlain is actively promoting awareness of the importance of bees, which are currently under threat, in particular from intensive farming and climate change. A world without bees and their pollination would experience serious disruption of vital ecosystems. “Nearly 75% of cultivated crops and 90% of wild flowering plants depend on pollinators, specifically bees,” notes a report on Pollinators, Pollination and Food Production published by the IPBES[1].

To help celebrate World Bee Day, Guerlain called on Slovak artist Tomáš Libertíny, known for incorporating bees in his artworks, who has adorned the Huile-en-Eau Abeille Royale bottle with elegant flowers. What’s more, the emblematic Bee Bottle has been transformed into a work of art entirely made by bees.

From May 20-22, Guerlain boutiques and Guerlain.com will donate 20% of sales[2] to the Guerlain for Bees Conservation Program. And on Instagram, Guerlain is encouraging its community to repost the bee heart logo decorated with flowers and bees by Tomáš Libertíny with the hashtags #GuerlainForBees and #WorldBeeDay. 20 euros will be donated for each repost.

Guerlain continues to promote information about the essential role of the bee in pollination and the preservation of biodiversity and nature through a host of initiatives. They include the Bee School, an awareness-building program for children, as well as the Women for Bees program in partnership with UNESCO. The Maison also partners meaningful initiatives such as sustainability actions by the Brittany Black Bee Conservatory Association on the island of Ouessant in France. Because bees are, quite simply, the guardians of future generations.

[1] Source: IPBES Assessment Report on Pollinators, Pollination and Food Production (IPBES: Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services).

[2] In Boutiques, at selected partners and on Guerlain.com, all collections included.

WOMEN’S EMPOWERMENT AND BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION

Women for Bees is a state-of-the-art female beekeeping entrepreneurship program launched by UNESCO and Guerlain. Implemented in UNESCO designated biosphere reserves around the world, the program has promote its twin objectives of women’s empowerment and biodiversity conservation for sustainable use.

Focusing on local and native bees, their welfare and maintenance, as well as education on bees, the program aims to enable women’s empowerment through an expertise-driven sustainable professional activity. It also aims to contribute to raising awareness of the importance of all bee species as pollinators, bearing in mind that animals play a major part in the pollination of 90% of the planet’s wild flowers.

History & Program

Over five years, 50 participants from 25 biosphere reserves of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves, selected in consultation with UNESCO, Guerlain and the countries’ MAB committees, will share knowledge among this new network of beekeepers and learn the theoretical and practical bases of sustainable beekeeping, including the running of a professional apiary relying on local ecotypes and species of bees. Participants will have the possibility to become fully professional beekeeper-entrepreneurs and will be members of an international network of women beekeepers.

Prior to the start of the project, a feasibility study is arranged in each biosphere reserve involved based on a field assessment by local scientists. This study describes socio-economic, demographic and land-use features, institutional arrangements, indigenous and local beekeeping and honey collection practices, as well as potential ecological and socio-economic potential consequences of the project – either benefits of challenges. The study is particularly centered on women living inside or close to the biosphere reserve.

Considering these potential impacts, the project promotes beekeeping based on traditional and local knowledge and practices, and focuses on local species and ecotypes of bees, which contributes to maintaining and restoring native bee populations and pollinator and plant diversity.

The program is working inside biosphere reserves, which comprise strictly protected areas as well as areas allowing sustainable development. In some biosphere reserves, beekeeping and bee domestication activities have long been taking place, as highlighted by the recent inscription of some practices to the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The knowledge exchange and training is therefore primarily aimed at women already familiar with beekeeping and even sometimes already managing their own hives.

A great deal of attention is given to local practices, which prevents the program from importing bee colonies or queens from outside to biosphere reserves (for instance, colonies of Western honeybees), or from promoting the development of very large apiaries, which may present a risk of outcompeting other native species of bees and wild pollinators as well as increasing the risk of spreading diseases. The first 30-day training took place in June-July 2021 in France. During the first two years, more than 10 countries have already been set to participate in the program, in consultation with UNESCO, Guerlain and the respective countries’ MAB committees.

The first 30-day training took place in June-July 2021 in France. During the first two years, more than 10 countries have already been set to participate in the program, in consultation with UNESCO, Guerlain and the respective countries’ MAB committees.

By 2025, hives will have been built for native bee species and ecotypes within 25 UNESCO biosphere reserves. The 50 women to participate by that year, will have been trained and supported in establishing their own beekeeping operations while participating in a vital, socially beneficial project. The objective for women beekeepers is to create long-term revenue for them and their community.

The first 30-day training took place in June-July 2021 in France. During the first two years, more than 10 countries have already been set to participate in the program, in consultation with UNESCO, Guerlain and the respective countries’ MAB committees.

By 2025, hives will have been built for native bee species and ecotypes within 25 UNESCO biosphere reserves. The 50 women to participate by that year, will have been trained and supported in establishing their own beekeeping operations while participating in a vital, socially beneficial project. The objective for women beekeepers is to create long-term revenue for them and their community. Being part of the worldwide network of beekeepers give women the opportunity to train other beekeepers after their participation in an exchange. Their transmission capacities are a crucial aspect of the program to keep this knowledge and know-how dynamic.

UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere (MAB) program is an intergovernmental scientific program that aims to establish a scientific basis for enhancing the relationship between people and their environments. It combines the natural and social sciences with a view to improving human livelihoods and safeguarding natural and managed ecosystems, thus promoting innovative approaches to economic development that are socially and culturally appropriate and environmentally sustainable. It’s World Network of Biosphere Reserves currently counts 727 sites in 131 countries.

 

“Because the role of women in biodiversity management and decision-making processes is not fully recognized, supporting and promoting their contribution as agents of change is essential and a global priority for UNESCO,” said UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay. “The Women for Bees program not only highlights our interdependency with other living species, it also encourages women to be designers of change, to create, educate and experiment with sustainable beekeeping in UNESCO designated Biosphere Reserves as a way of living on Earth in harmony with other species. Such is the spirit of our commitment to biodiversity, and the purpose of our global partnership with LVMH”

Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO

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