Brazilian Pollinators Initiative

Time Line

Author: Vera Lucia Imperatriz Fonseca

The Brazilian Pollinators Initiative (BPI) is under its first steps of development. The initial discussions took place in October 1998, at the "International Workshop on the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Pollinators in Agriculture, with emphasis on Bees" held at the University of São Paulo, promoted and organized by the Brazilian Ministry of the Environment (MMA) in partnership with the University of São Paulo (USP), the Brazilian Corporation for Agriculture Research (EMBRAPA) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Subsequent discussions on the BPI were held during the "4th Brazilian Meeting on Bees" organized by the University of São Paulo in September 2000. The BPI was formally presented to the scientific community in the "5th Brazilian Meeting on Bees" organized by S. Paulo University in Ribeirão Preto, State of São Paulo, in September 2002. It assembled almost 300 Brazilian experts and exhibited over 200 papers.

BPI is built upon several components, such as: an extensive network of Brazilian experts on bee and pollination research, an extensive network of beekeepers associations, a worldclass network of agricultural research centers maintained by the Brazilian Corporation for Agriculture Research (EMBRAPA), a 50-year track-record of excellence in research and graduate education on bees at the University of São Paulo, and also, a host of potential partnerships within governmental and non-governmental organizations working towards agriculture sustainability and biodiversity issues.

BPI was planned to strengthen scientific and technological excellence on pollinators, by means of an active network of a critical mass of resources and expertise, all needed for a tropical leadership in this area. BPI will generate knowledge on pollinators supporting very good teams to work together, with the mission of spreading excellence beyond the boundaries of its partnership. Training capabilities using standard methodologies and network facilities will be essential components of BPI.

BPI will provide the necessary integration adopting reinforcement of electronic information and communication networks to support interactive working between the teams involved. Activities planned to spread excellence are the following:

  • A joint programme for training researchers and other key staffs;
  • Dissemination and communication activities (including public awareness and understanding of science);
  • Promoting the exploitation of the results generated within the network.

Presently, a group of bee scientists and a policy-maker from the Brazilian Ministry of Environment (Dr. Braulio F. S. Dias) are designing the Brazilian Pollinators Initiative, in order to address the fragmentation of Brazilian Research on the subject. This means that they are working on the proposal to GEF, and including Pollinators in all ongoing thematic areas available. They are not acting as "closed cubs", but are working in a proposal where the access rights will be the same for all participants; they are also overseeing the promotion of gender equality within the network; finally, overseeing science and society issues related to topics of the network.

Among recent BPI achievements there are:

  • The São Paulo Declaration on Pollinators (, precursor of International Pollinators Initiative, constituted by COP5 in Nairobi, May 2000;
  • A symposium at the 4th Bee Meeting in Ribeirão Preto, State of São Paulo, in September 2000;
  • A symposium at the 5th Bee Meeting in Ribeirão Preto, State of São Paulo, in September 2002;
  • The publication of the book: Kevan, P. & Imperatriz-Fonseca,VL. eds.2002 - Pollinating bees: The conservation link between Agriculture and Nature, under the financial support from MMA;
  • The publication in 2002 of the book Brazilian Bees, systematics and identification by Fernando A. Silveira, Gabriel A. R. Melo, Eduardo A. B. Almeida, also supported by MMA;
  • The workshop World Bees Checklist in the forum Trends and Development in Biodiversity Informatics (
  • Organization team: Mike Ruggiero, Vanderlei Canhos, Vera L. I. Fonseca, Fernando Silveira. The workshop was highly successful as model for developing a global species checklist. October 17th and 18th 2002;
  • As an outcome of the workshop, a proposal to support the development of a Neotropical Bee Catalog was submitted to FINEP (Financiadora de Estudos e Projetos) in Brazil, and has been recommended for funding. (Gabriel Melo, Vanderlei Canhos, Fernando Silveira); On-line list of bee species known to occur in Brazil.
  • Submission to GBIF of a Brazilian proposal (Vanderlei Canhos, Fernando Silveira and Gabriel Melo), untitled "New World Bee Catalog On-line", selected as a pre-proposal for funding;
  • Preparation of additional workshops for 2003 (supported by FAO):
    • Assessment of the economic value of pollination services to selected cash crops;
    • Identification of management practices contributing to pollinator decline, and best management practices to counter this;
  • The BPI proposal was modified to be presented again to GEF in May 2003.

BPI Focal Points:

Braulio Ferreira Souza Dias (MMA)
Afonso Candeira Valois (EMBRAPA)
Vera Lucia Imperatriz Fonseca (USP)
Lionel Segui Gonçalves (USP)
Marina Siqueira de Castro (Bahia Corporation for Agricultural Development)
Breno Freitas (Federal University of Ceara)
Fernando Silveira (Federal University of Minas Gerais)