The Polish presidency has announced its next initiative - the Katowice Ministerial Declaration "Forests for Climate." The meeting was attended by Minister of the Environment Henryk Kowalczyk and Paola Deda, OiC, Forests, Land and Housing Division, UNECE, among others.
The role of forests in the Paris Agreement
The Paris Agreement shows a general will to get involved in a global effort aimed at achieving a balance between anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases deriving from sources and their absorption by scrubbers and absorbing agents. Responsibility for achieving this goal lies with all governments, because it can only be achieved through a global effort.
The fifth article of the Paris Agreement is one of the most important articles because it indicates the way to implement the basic premise of this document, that is, the balance between emissions and absorption in the second half of this century. The parties should take measures in order to preserve and improve the state of absorbers and greenhouse gas reservoirs, including forests. Multifunctional and sustainable forest management is fundamentally important for achieving climate neutrality.
Poland wants to share its experiences
There is no future without counteracting climate change, and there is no future without forests. For this reason, during COP24 a special event regarding the Parties' support for the Katowice Ministerial Declaration "Forests for Climate" was held for ministers and chairmen of delegations. The document was adopted by acclamation.
As emphasized by Minister of the Environment Henryk Kowalczyk, the forest cover of Poland's territory is systematically expanding. "From 1995 to 2014, the area of forests in our country increased by 504,000 hectares. This has been achieved thanks to, among others, the State Forests supervised by the Ministry of the Environment," he declared.
The head of the Ministry of the Environment added that forests constitute almost a third of Poland's surface area. "Scientific research shows that, among other measures, by planting appropriate tree species, the ability of forests to absorb CO2 and thus reduce the scale of expected climate change can be increased," he stressed. "At COP24, we want to show how to strive to achieve a balance between emission and absorption through the application of innovative solutions in the field of forest management, and by relying on the natural process of CO2 absorption by soil and forests," he said.
Among the many Parties that declared their willingness to endorse the Declaration were present ministers and representatives of delegations from countries such as Indonesia represented by minister of the environment and forestry H.E. Siti Nurbaya Bakar, but also: North Korea, Tanzania, Japan, Germany, Finland, Russia, France, Italy, as well as Austria.
By 17 December, 64 Parties had expressed their willingness to endorse to the Forest Declaration, while 10 had not declared their willingness to do so. The number of supporting countries is still growing. See the list of Parties supporting the Declaration here.