What would the world become without bees? Addressing the risks of honeybee population decline to the world’s food security, nutrition, and environmental safety, is an  abiding  focus  for  Guerlain.  Today,  the  house  carries that commitment even further. Following the summer 2021 graduation of the first cohort of beekeepers from the Guerlain x UNESCO Women for Bees programme, Angelina  Jolie  – Guerlain  Muse  and  Godmother  of  the  2021  and  2022  cohorts –  has  officially  launched  a  six-month  training  program  for  eleven  new  female  beekeeping  trainees  identified  by  the  UNESCO  team in  Phnom Penh in collaboration with the Maddox Jolie-Pitt (MJP) Foundation. She was joined in Cambodia by  beekeeper  Aggelina  Kanellopoulou,  a  graduate  from  the  2021  cohort,  who  shared  her  experiences and exchanged the best practices in beekeeping with women in Siem Reap, the Samlot District and the Tonle Sap UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

The Guerlain x UNESCO Women for Bees initiative pro-motes diversified  approaches to beekeeping, wherein different  types of local beekeeping and bee activities, such as Rafter beekeeping, are supported with scientific and participatory  methods, in line with the UNESCO Manand the Biosphere (MAB) programme’s objective to develop sustainable  relationship between humans and nature. Biosphere reserves such as Tonle Sap are places that promote solutions reconciling the conservation of biodiversity with its sustainable use. The World Network of Biosphere Reserves is a unique international cooperation platform for sharing knowledge, exchanging experiences, building capacity and promoting good practices.

“One of the key challenges of our century is to reconcile humanity with nature and all living beings. This is precisely the  goal  of  the  727  biosphere  reserves  designated  by  UNESCO  in  131  countries,  where  local  communities  implement  sustainable  development.  The  Women  for  Bees Guerlain x UNESCO programme is one example among many initiatives that affirms that reconciliation with nature is not only possible, but in place. It empowers women   beekeepers,   helps   improve   livelihoods   in   vulnerable communities and serves as a model beyond the boundaries of UNESCO biosphere reserves.”

After  the  first  training  programme  in  the  South  of  France  in  June  2021,  this  new  phase  aims  to  provide  both  theoretical  and  practical  beekeeping  knowledge  and skills required to mount and manage a sustainable beekeeping operation. The eleven new trainees will also share knowledge about the particular importance of bees to Khmer history, as well as the particularities and challenges of  conserving  Cambodia’s  native  honeybees.  As  new  entrepreneurs,  the  Cambodian  women  will  become  members  of  a  worldwide  community  of  women  beekeepers  who  will  enhance  local  biodiversity  and  pass  on  their  own  knowledge  as  ambassadors  on  the  crucial  role  of  pollination in food security and ecosystem management. Today  close  to  75%  of  all  food  crops  and  90%  of  wild  flowering  plants  depend  on  pollinators, including bees*.

The Guerlain x UNESCO Women for Bees programme also tackles the specific local value of and threats to the honeybee populations. In Cambodia, wild honey is one of the primary ingredients in traditional medicine and bees-wax is commonly used for blessing ceremonies, making honey hunting an ancestral activity. Deforestation, the use of  pesticides in agriculture, and unsustainable  honey  hunting are among the primary threats facing Cambodia’s native honeybee populations. Working in partnership with local experts, the Cambodian phase of the Women for Bees initiative provides activities and trainings to women beekeepers as well, as part of a pilot awareness program for the general public, responding to governmental interest to inform on a national scale about the importance of native bee conservation, bringing the private sector on board to provide business opportunities and sustainable livelihoods. Equally as important as training and supporting female beekeeper-entrepreneurs from around the world is the global community network fostered by the Women for Beesprogramme to share local knowledge and know-how.

This dedication to women’s  empowerment through the Women for Bees programme will continue throughout 2022 with beekeeper training for women in Ethiopia, Rwanda and China, followed by the Amazon region in 2023.“Thanks to the Women for Bees programme, the role played by women beekeepers around the world is  recognized  for  the  first  time.  Never  has  Guerlain  carried  out  a  project  of  such  magnitude.  We  feel  proud  that  this  programme,  which  emphasises  the  role  of  women  as  “designers  of  change”,  is  now  rolling  out  in  Cambodia  after  France  in  2021.  Our  consideration goes out to the 11 Cambodian women who  joined  the  training  programme  and  for  their  personal dedication to bees.”

From  World  Bee  Day  on  May  20  to  the  International  Day  for  Biological  Diversity  on  May  22,  Guerlain is again calling for a commitment from its communities and the global population at large. 20% of in-boutique and online  sales will be donated to the Guerlain for Bees Conservation Programme, including sales of the limited-edition Huile-en-Eau Abeille Royale, which has been dressed up for the occasion by the artist Tomáš Libertíny. In addition, €20 will be donated for every Instagram repost of the visual created by Tomáš Libertíny  that  include  the  hashtags  #GuerlainForBees  and #WorldBeeDay. The maison aims to raise €1.000.000 in support of bees.

You can learn more about Guerlain’s charitable efforts and Women for Bees by clicking here