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The United Nations says the Carpathian region is in real danger over climate change and illegal deforestation.

"The heightened cooperation will be essential as we seek to address growing threats to the Carpathians. Make no mistake: the Carpathian region is in real and immediate danger," Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme Inger Andersen said on November 25, 2020.

A 2017 report from UNEP, WWF and Eurac Research was unequivocal about the threats, particularly from illegal deforestation, she said.

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"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.

She reiterated Ukraine had seen 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."

Read alsoSome coastal areas may be flooded over climate changes, expert saysMeanwhile, over the past 20 years, illegal logging has cost Romania over five billion euros.

"The report I mentioned, found that, in 2016 alone, around 187,000 cubic meters of timber were illegally cut in Romania… We need to step up to first stop, then reverse, the damage being done to these essential ecosystems," the official noted.