5 July 2017
UN delegates today called for a halt to illegal logging in Bialowieza Forest, piling yet more pressure on the Polish Environment Minister to stop destroying Europe’s oldest forest.
ClientEarth lawyer Agata Szafraniuk said: “UNESCO’s renewed call to halt logging in Bialowieza Forest is yet another stop sign for Poland’s Minister of Environment. He has already ignored appeals from the European Commission, scientists and Polish people. Let’s hope this fresh warning will stop the illegal logging before Europe’s oldest forest is irreversibly damaged.”
“This is not just a success for Bialowieza and its protected plants and animals. It is also a success for UNESCO and the international community, proving it can stand up for precious World Heritage sites all over the world.”
UNESCO delegates resisted political pressure to water down their decision, instead basing it on science and the recommendations of independent experts. Many insisted on the importance of an immediate decision, pointing to the Commission's legal challenge to the logging, and the suspected inadequacy of the Polish ministry’s impact assessments.
UNESCO warned that if the situation hasn’t improved, Bialowieza Forest could be added to the list of World Heritage Sites in Danger.