Over the last several months, the World Heritage Centre has received numerous messages from citizens and NGOs expressing their concerns regarding logging activities within the Polish part of the transboundary World Heritage property “Białowieża Forest” (Belarus/Poland).
The competent authorities of the State Party of Poland as well as the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Body IUCN are fully informed of the concerns raised by recent campaigns. The logging activities are being very seriously considered by all parties and are being monitored according to the Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention.
The World Heritage Committee, at its 41st session in Kraków, Poland (2-12 July 2017), reiterated its request to the State Party of Poland to maintain the continuity and integrity of protected old-growth forest in Białowieża Forest. The Committee strongly urged the State Party to immediately halt all logging and wood extraction in old-growth forests, and to clarify third party reports about logging that cannot be justified as so-called sanitary cuttings.
The World Heritage Centre would like to recall that an IUCN Advisory mission to the property took place in 2016. The mission report is available at https://whc.unesco.org/document/157756. At its 41st session, the World Heritage Committee also requested the States Parties of Belarus and Poland to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission to assess, inter alia, whether “Białowieża Forest” meets the criteria for inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger.