She stated this at the sixth Conference of the Parties with the participation of representatives of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Ukraine, according to Ukrinform.
"Make no mistake: the Carpathian region is in real and immediate danger. […] The old-growth forests of the Carpathians and their unique biodiversity are disappearing at alarming rates as timber is being illegally cut and transported across and beyond the borders of mountain range States. This has many consequences," Andersen said.
According to her, this has resulted in Ukraine seeing several devastating floods over the last years.
"Villages and roads submerged. Bridges brought down. People killed. These are, in part, linked to climate change. But illegal logging – taking place under the cover of the difficulties Ukraine has suffered – has removed large chunks of forests that soak up excess water and provide a buffer against flooding," Andersen said.
Meanwhile, over the past 20 years, illegal logging has cost Romania over five billion euros, she said. In 2016 alone, around 187,000 cubic meters of timber were illegally cut in Romania, she added.
Andersen called on the parties to strengthen the rule of law to ensure the protection of the environment, as well as to increase transboundary collaboration and proactively combat climate change.
She also called on countries in the region to hold big companies involved in purchasing illegal timber to account.
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