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Wild pollinators have declined because of land-use change, intensive agricultural management and pesticide use, environmental pollution, invasive alien species, pathogens and climate change. Research suggests almost 10% of the EUs wild bees are threatened with extinction, while data are lacking for over 50%. Information is particularly scarce on the Mediterranean basin, which harbours the majority of endemic wild bees and is considered a biodiversity hotspot for conservation. In Mediterranean countries (Spain, Italy, France and Greece) there is inadequate awareness about the role of wild pollinators and the importance of conserving their diversity. This knowledge gap is one of the main obstacles to proper planning of successful programmes to address the main drivers behind pollinator decline and ensure sustainable management and restoration of the remaining high-value pollinator habitats.

The aim of the LIFE 4 POLLINATORS project is to improve pollinator conservation by creating a virtuous circle leading to a progressive change in practices across the Mediterranean region.

The specific objectives are to:

1) Raise citizens and stakeholders awareness on the decline of wild pollinators and the importance of pollination services for the functioning and health of ecosystems and agroecosystems;

2) Promote attitudes and behaviour favouring native wild pollinators (creation of an interactive database on wild pollinators, better information on interactions between pollinators and plants in the Mediterranean, promotion of pesticide-free agriculture and pollinator-friendly practices in rural and urban environments);

3) Enhance citizens participation in data collection and greening actions;

4) Improve general knowledge onnative Mediterranean wild pollinators and entomophilous plants (i.e. pollinated by insects) and their interactions, and on invasive alien species through citizen science monitoring activities; and

5) Promote better environmental governance, transferring data to the relevant authorities and stimulating the development of pollinator strategies or action plans in member states where they are missing (Italy, Greece and Spain).

The project will contribute to a range of EU policy and legislation, including the biodiversity strategy, Regulation (EU) 1143/2014 on invasive alien species, the thematic strategy on the sustainable use of pesticides, the pollinators initiative and biodiversity protection under the common agricultural policy. With several actions to be carried out in Natura 2000 sites, it will also support the Habitats Directive.

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