As the twentieth century draws to a close, the dawning of the 21st century unveils a global awakening on environmental conservation which has manifested into political commitments, corporate policies and development agendas. From such initiatives by decision makers and political big-wigs, concern for environmental conservation is fast becoming apparent in the policies of many funding agencies. The Rio Summit epitomises this shift in emphasis and stimulates a caring outlook on how we should manage Mother Earth. Research and development managers of beekeeping projects must adjust to this shift. Beekeeping development programmes can easily incorporate environmentalism in their programmes, and it takes more than just socio-economic and technological benefits for a project to be considered worthy of funding. Beekeeping projects that aim to alleviate poverty and promote technological development should be restructured to incorporate elements and values for sustainable development.