Aiming to promote and preserve the cultural heritage of the Gaeltacht Quarter in Belfast, The World Bee Project has partnered with Forbairt Feirste to link the global threat of bee decline and the deterioration of indigenous language.
This two-fold, holistic approach, is a collaborative project with city-wide impact, addressing education, local heritage and culture, as well as biodiversity conservation and urban food and nutrition security.
Forbairt Feirste is a Belfast-Based Irish Language Development Agency, which along with officials from the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure, operates a joint secretariat charged with implementing the Big Gaeltacht Action Plan for the development of the Gaeltacht Quarter. Forbairt Feirste seeks to unleash the economic potential of the City’s Irish speaking community to the benefit of all citizens.
Agency Director Jake MacSiacais said: “We are committed to developing a Gaeltacht Quarter collaborative project, with citywide impact, that addresses education, heritage, culture and environment in view of the contributions bees make to human welfare. In the first instance, it will be important for us to scope out with regional and local government and other agencies, how the Gaeltacht Quarter can become the first quarter in Belfast to fully commit to addressing the bee decline as a challenge to both our islands' food security and well-being as well as a catalyst for turning Belfast into a world leader in terms of being a bee friendly/diversity friendly city.”
Seán Mistéil Chairperson said: " The partnership with The World Bee Project creates the context for further ethically sensitive actions which can contribute to the broader structure of society here in Belfast and around the world. The elements which embody these actions are clear, value-rich and inclusive. They show how individuals can act in a larger structure of meaning and how they can better relate to and define each other. This intersection of local and global space captures the crossover between the individual and society. Through the Bí Cruthaitheach - Bee Creative collaboration we can communicate the value of symbiotic relationships and the galvanising opportunities of collaboration, sharing and optimism. Most of all we want to reinforce the primary message of efficient and effective Government and Community actions, together with a sense of engagement as a set of multiple journeys involving destinations and - especially - connections.”
Endorsing Seán Mistéil’s comments Professor Simon Potts co-founder of The World Bee Project and co-chair of the UN’s Global Pollination Assessment said: “I very much welcome the news of the Northern Ireland Environment Agency’s support for this World Bee Project/Gaeltacht Quarter partnership – this is a great opportunity to work together to protect the amazing diversity of bees which work so hard to pollinate our crops and ensure we have access to the highest quality fruits and vegetables.”
Welcoming the joint initiative, Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill, said: “I applaud the initiative and leadership demonstrated by The World Bee Project and Forbairt Feirste to address the decline in our pollinator species and protect the astonishing number of bee species in Ireland.”
On behalf of the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure Minister Carál Ní Chuilín said: “I very much welcome this latest innovative partnership from the Gaeltacht Quarter and The World Bee Project, linking the challenge of securing biodiversity and tackling the challenge of bee decline with the challenge of saving indigenous language.”