UNESCO Committee urges immediate end to tree felling in Polish forest
PR dla Zagranicy
The UNESCO World Heritage Committee on Wednesday called on Warsaw to immediately stop tree felling in the oldest part of the primaeval Białowieża forest in north-eastern Poland.
UNESCO Committee debate on the Białowieża forest. Photo: PAP/Jacek Bednarczyk
The World Heritage Committee, which is meeting in Poland for the first time in its history, also said it wanted to send a mission of experts to the forest, one of the last such habitats in Europe.
The European Commission initiated procedures against Poland last June, following a decision taken in March 2016 to triple the harvest of timber and start logging in forests, including Białowieża, which were previously excluded from intervention.
The Polish environment ministry said this was a necessary move in a fight against a plague of the European spruce bark beetle, which feeds on trees.
But the European Commission said excessive logging contradicted protection measures, and at the same time would irreversibly affect biodiversity.
The 41st session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee opened in the southern Polish city of Kraków this week.
The committee is tasked with deciding on which sites of cultural or natural significance deserve international protection.
Delegates from the committee’s 21 member countries as well as from more than 100 other countries party to the world heritage convention will be in Kraków until 12 July.