If nature conservation is important to you, then this post may help you compare the parties’ pledges.
I decided to explore what the major parties’ manifestos (programmes) say about nature.
The manifestos reveal a change in government could welcome a new era for Polish nature.
All three democratic opposition parties promise big, positive changes. They will govern together in a coalition should they win.
Whereas, both the right-wing parties promise no expansion of nature protection provisions.
Here follows a party by party list of election pledges
Law and Justice
Economically left, socially far right, authoritarian; Current ruling party, in power since 2015, and the major party in the governing coalition in 2005-2007.
Currently polling around 35%.
Pro-nature pledges: Increase the share of green space in cities to 8%.
A mix of libertarians, nationalists, monarchists and batty conspiracy theorists; currently polling around 10%.
Pro-nature manifesto pledges: None, unsurprisingly.
Big tent, centrist; its major constituent party the Civic Platform were in power from 2007-2015; currently polling around 30%
Pro-nature manifesto pledges:
1) End logging in high conservation value forests. They will serve only conservation and recreation.
2) They want to ban the uncontrolled export of unprocessed wood (increasing amounts of timber is being exported outside of the EU, much of it to China).
3) Environmental organisations will be able to challenge forest management plans in court. Currently, there is no opportunity for judicial review if a management plan is deemed to break the law. They want the public to have meaningful input into the drafting of FMPs.
4) Introduce a permanent system for monitoring the cleanliness of rivers. Modernise the sewerage network and introduce a system for penalising illegal waste dumping in rivers. Introduce a programme for renaturalising the Oder River.
5) Introduce a programme to restore peat bogs and wetlands while considering the interests of farmers. Polish degraded wetlands emit more GHGs than the Bełchatów power station (the largest coal plant in Europe, and the biggest GHG emitting power station in the world).
6) End the cutting of trees and ensure the protection of biodiversity in cities. Introduce a ‘City Gardener’ official responsible for parks, tree planting and ecological sites.
The Left Coalition
Socially and economically left wing; its major constituent party the Democratic Left Alliance was the major party in the governing coalition between 1993 and 1997, and between 2001 and 2005.
Currently polling around 10%.
1) On national parks. They aim to quadrouple the area of Poland protected within national parks, from the current 1% to 4%. They specifically promise to create the following new parks:
· Turnica National Park (in the Przemyśl Highlands)
·Jurassic National Park (in the Kraków-Częstochowa Upland)
· Masuria National Park (in the Masurian Lakeland)
· Stobrawa National Park (in the region of the Stobrawa River, Opole Province, southwestern Poland).
· Lower Oder Valley National Park
· Middle Oder National Park
· Lower Vistula Valley National Park
Increase the salaries of national park employees (to make it a more prestigious job).
Introduce support for creating development plans and eco-subsidies in municipalities with protected areas (presumably to compensate them for those protected areas).
2) On the State Forests (which cover 25% of Poland). They note how the state forest company is outside of societal control, behaves like a state within a state, and is oriented towards making money from exploiting nature (logging).They want to transform it into a government agency and restrict it from ‘over exploitative’ logging.
In particular, they want to ban logging in 6% of Poland’s area (so in some 15% of Poland’s forests that aren’t protected in national parks).
In those areas they will establish ‘Civic Forests’ aimed at nature conservation and recreation.
Environmental organisations will be able to challenge forest management plans in court.
3) On ecological restoration. Finally, their manifesto has a rather vague paragraph on introducing a national strategy for nature restoration. They want to protect and restore meadows, mid-field groves, wetlands, wild river verges, and floodplains.
Third Way Coalition
Centrists, both socially and economically; one of its constituent parties was the minor party in the governing coalition between 2007-2015; currently polling around 10%.
Pro-nature pledges: To end the overexploitation of forests and double the area of Poland protected within national parks.
Current polls suggest the election is on a knife edge. But the three opposition parties win enough seats to from a majority coalition, these manifestos may herald a new era for conservation in Poland.