The Gaeltacht Quarter is buzzing after the signing of a new agreement between Forbairt Feirste and the World Bee Project (WBP).

The agreement, Bee Creative/Bí Cruthaitheach, which was signed in Coláiste Feirste, commits partners to working together to ensure that the Gaeltacht Quarter can become the first quarter in Belfast to fully commit to addressing bee decline, which has joined global warming, forest destruction and species extinctions as one of our most urgent ecological challenges.

Since the late 90’s beekeepers around the world have been noticing the sudden disappearance of bees, and report unusually high rates of decline in honeybee colonies. The World Bee Project supports farmers and villagers in developing countries by introducing the low-technology and highly-valued practice of beekeeping on a village-wide scale.

The decline of bees is perhaps one of the least appreciated dangers facing mankind – no other single animal species plays a more significant role in producing the grown food that we take for granted.

With this in mind, the partnership of the WBP and Forbairt Feirste want to get our young people involved and have appointed ten Sustainability Ambassadors, all students at Coláiste Feirste. They want to raise awareness and create educational programmes to address the threat of the decline of bees and to address the decline of indigenous languages and cultures, which poses a threat to global cultural diversity with a special focus on Gaeilge.

The agreement signed by Sabiha Rumani Malik, on behalf of the World Bee Project (WBP) and by Gearóid MacSiacais on behalf of Forbairt Feirste. It has the full support of professor Simon Potts, Co-Founder of the World Bee Project and Co-Chair of the UN’s Global Pollination Assessment, and Ciarán Magoill, Chair of the Gaeltacht Quarter Board.

Sabiha Rumani Malik said: “Bees are responsible for 80 per cent of pollination in the world and they give us 90 per cent of sustaining foods which are necessary for the health of the human race. They are a critical link in the food chain”

Seán Mistéil added: “We are driven to develop a project in the Gaeltacht Quarter which will have great implications throughout the city. This involves education, culture and the environment. The Gaeltacht Quarter will be the first quarter in this city to give a holistic commitment to such a project.”