The debate organised on the World Environment Day (June 5) was the focal point of the celebrations in Poland. The theme of the debate refered to the leitmotif of this year's global campaign – the postulate, announced in March 2019 at the UN Environment Programme (UN Environment), calling for global action against air pollution, and thus for action to protect the climate (#BeatAirPollution). This debate and many other events at the World Environment Day, are celebrated in Poland as a part of the Green Ribbon #ForThePlanet campaign.

The participants of the meeting were welcomed by the Director of the UNEP/GRID-Warsaw Centre, Maria Andrzejewska and the Minister for the Environment, Henryk Kowalczyk. Director Andrzejewska underlined the close relationship between air pollution and greenhouse gases, both being products of our unsustainable lifestyle choices. Speaking about the global outreach of this year's campaign, she related to the green ribbon commonly worn on this day as an expression of general concern for our common good and for the future of our planet. Similarly, the withering palm tree – an artistic installation at the de Gaulle roundabout in the central district of Warsaw became the symbol of climate change for the city goers.

Minister Kowalczyk stressed the Clean Air program potential which provides measures for thermo-modernisation of residential buildings and is designed to bring a noticeable improvement in air quality in Poland over the next 10 years. He drew the attention of the gathered that social education comes as a side effect of this program, with an increase in awareness of the sources of pollution and their costs to health and the environment. He also reminded that the synergy of measures to protect air, climate and fight against energy poverty will foster the effective utilisation of the available financial resources.

The global perspective was presented by Matthew Billot, Senior Coordinator at the UN Environment Science Division. In the presentation devoted to the findings of the GEO-6 report, Billot presented the stance that while for millions of years climate change was caused by natural factors, now they are caused by people and result in a change of the state of the environment. Among the topics he touched upon, there was a place for discussing public policy tools, enabling the fight against smog and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Matthew Billot argued that with these tools, we should strive to transform wherever possible. Being aware of the growth of the world's population, we should find a way to decarbonize energy, feed a larger population, and implement the zero waste postulate.

The panel was attended by: Anna Król – President of the Board of the Provincial Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management in Warsaw; Matthew Billot; Carlos E. Piñerúa – Representative of the World Bank to Poland and the Baltic States; Katarzyna Dulko-Gaszyna – Director of Sustainable Development, IKEA Poland; Lech Gałkowski – Director of the Investment Banking Department, Santander Bank Polska S.A .; Marcin Wróblewski – Head of the Department in the Office of Air Protection and Climate Policy, City Hall of the City of Warsaw, Department of Sustainable Development Strategy.

The panellists of the debate, led by Irena Pichola from Deloitte Poland, emphasised the role of public institutions, local authorities, and business, in activities for people and the environment, stressing the role of public awareness on the scale of challenges that we are facing and cooperation to promote solutions to environmental problems. Among them panellists listed green bonds, financial support for the energy efficiency, as well as the increase in sales of solar panels installed on the roofs of Polish houses.

Kamil Mirowski from Grupa Żywiec S.A., Tomasz Kurpiewski from McDonald's Polska, and Piotr Klimkiewicz from Veolia Energia Polska were among the main campaign partners commenting on the discussion. The representative of the young generation also took the floor – Klara Foryciarz, the Youth Climate Strike delegate, presented two key postulates:

  • decarbonization by 2030,
  • introducing the subject of the climate crisis into the school curriculum.

Summing up the meeting, Director Andrzejewska declared establishing a new course of action for the "Together for the environment" SDGs Partnership – MISSION: CLIMATE.

The co-organiser of the debate was the Capital City of Warsaw.

The honorary patronage over the event included: Representation of the European Commission in Poland, World Bank, Ministry of the Environment, Ministry of Enterprise and Technology, Ministry of Investment and Development, and the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management.

The strategic partners of the event were: IKEA Polska and Santander Bank Polska SA;

Main partners: Grupa Żywiec S.A., McDonalds Polska, Veolia Polska Foundation;

Partners: ANTALIS, BASF Polska Sp z o.o., CARREFOUR Polska Sp z o.o., CEC Government Relations, CH ARKADIA, CH MOKOTÓW, CH WROCLAVIA, DELL, DELOITTE Sp. z o.o., Responsible Business Forum, Jeronimo Martins Polska, PLASTICSEUROPE, SAMSUNG Polska, SMYK, STROER MEDIA, SUEZ Polska Sp. z o.o., SYNTHOS S.A, SYRENA Communications.

Media patrons included: ALERT Business, City Magazine, responsiblebiznes.pl, RMF Classic, now Environment, WPROST.