UN Climate change summit adopts declaration on ‘greater role for forest’


To mitigate the challenges of climate change, international decision makers who gathered at the just concluded UN conference in southern Poland have adopted a declaration calling on countries to increase the role of forests in combating the problem.

Last week, a total of 65 countries supported the Polish-drafted titled, “Forests for Climate” initiative, which aims to encourage afforestation and sustainable forest management.

The Poland’s Minister for Environment, Henryk Kowalczyk told participants that his country was effectively using forests to absorb carbon dioxide amid efforts to mitigate global warming.

The declaration, drafted by Poland’s government and signed by its President Andrzej Duda, aims to ensure a fair transformation based on solidarity amid efforts to protect the climate while maintaining economic development and jobs.The declaration stresses “the social aspect of the transition towards a low-carbon economy,” defining it as “crucial for gaining social approval for the changes taking place,”

The declaration also says that public policies to reduce emissions will face social resistance and significant political risks for governments unless accompanied by social security programmes for workers whose jobs will be lost or transformed.

Director-general of Poland’s State Forests authority, Andrzej Konieczny said at the COP24 conference last week that forests comprised 30 percent of Poland’s area, slightly below the EU average of 38 percent.

He said the “Forests for Climate” initiative approved on at the conference was the third Polish-drafted declaration adopted at COP24, after one calling for a just transition towards a low-carbon economy and another aiming to promote electro-mobility or eco-friendly electric transport”.

The 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, also known as COP24, opened in the southern Polish city of Katowice at the start of December 2018 and runs until Saturday last week.Speaking at the official opening of the summit, Polish President, Andrzej Duda said his country was “ready to take its share of responsibility for international security,” including in terms of climate policy.

Also, the Poland’s Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki had told participants on the second day of the conference that his country was among nations leading the way in efforts to stop global warming.

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