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Urban Nature

"Why trees?" on city trees view

While cities are responsible for an estimated 75% of all carbon dioxide emissions globally, they are also particularly vulnerable to climate change, which is driving an increase in stress, floods, droughts and other impacts in and around cities.

Urban nature can simultaneously reduce the carbon footprint of cities and increase their resilience. Urban nature-based solutions can solve multiple local, national and global challenges while delivering conserving biodiversity, advancing climate action and supporting sustainable development. 

Since 2019, UNECE’s Joint ECE/FAO Section on Forestry and Timber has been working with cities on high-impact nature-based solutions and launched the Trees in Cities Challenge. It invites mayors and local governments to make a tree planting pledge to support greener, more sustainable, healthier, food secure and climate resilient cities.

UNECE’s Informal Expert Network on Urban Nature was established in 2021 to provide a forum for knowledge exchange, coaching and capacity building as well as peer-to-peer learning to strengthen management of urban nature, particularly trees and forests.

These and other activities promote urban nature as a high-impact, cost effective solution for cities facing the multifaceted challenges of climate change.

San Marino Regional Urban Forestry Action Plan

Adopted by the UNECE Committee on Forests and the Forest Industry in Nov 2023, the San Marino Regional Urban Forestry Action Plan helps guide collective effort for a greener and more vibrant urban environment. It identifies how local and national governments can collaborate to plan and sustainably manage urban trees and forests to provide a multitude of health, biodiversity, climate and sustainable development benefits. It provides a framework for how businesses, communities, academics, NGOs and international organizations like the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe can also contribute based on their respective strengths.

Drawing of trees in city


San Marino Regional Urban Forestry Action Plan

Plan D’action Regional de Saint-Marin Pour La Promotion De La Foresterie Urbaine

Сан-Маринский Региональный План Действий в области городского лесного хозяйства




Tree Policy and Action Lab (Tree-PAL) 

The UNECE Tree Policy and Action Lab (Tree-PAL) supports cities and countries to plan, manage and expand urban trees and nature as a nature-based solution for local, national and global goals.

Aligning policy and action across levels of government is essential to efficiently deliver both local and national objectives Tree-PAL supports capacity and helps build an architecture to support first movers and drive systemic change to implement.

At the city level, Tree-PAL supports planning, governance and long-term implementation & finance. Building on City-level insights, Tree-PAL supports policy and action for a systemic national approach to implement urban trees and nature as a nature-based solution.

Presentation cover of Tree-PAL



Tree-PAL flyer



Sustainable Urban and Peri-urban Forestry - An Integrative and Inclusive Nature-Based Solution for Green Recovery and Sustainable, Healthy and Resilient Cities

Urban trees, forests, and green spaces have been increasingly recognized as important components of more liveable, healthy, and resilient cities. Functioning urban ecosystems help clean our air and water and to cool urban heat islands. They also help to support our well-being by shielding us from floods and landslides and providing opportunities for recreation.
This policy brief identifies opportunities for action to expand sustainable urban and peri-urban forestry (SUPF) in the UNECE region. SUPF is a cost-effective nature- based solution that provides many ecosystem services and benefits that contribute to sustainable development, climate action, biodiversity conservation, combating land degradation, and disaster risk reduction at the local, national, and global levels. 

Urban forest policy brief








Trees for Resilience Green Cities: Strategic Screening and Action Toolkit

Optimising the services and benefits provided by trees and forests in urban and peri-urban areas requires a strategic and comprehensive approach to planning and management.  To support cities with implementing this approach, UNECE developed the Trees for Resilient Green Cities Strategic Screening and Action Toolkit with the generous support of the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment.

Designed for cities, this toolkit includes a scorecard, template implementation scheme and resources to support planning and is available for download and use in the following formats:

Trees for resilient green cities toolkit cover



PDF - Not fillable

Word - Fillable



For more information
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Watch the Trees in Cities Challenge video 

Discover how urban trees are key to global biodiversity 

Watch the short film "Why trees?" 

Listen to the first episode of The UN Forest Podcast "Urban forests hosted by Stefano Boeri" on your favorite platform: Spotify, Apple Podcast, Amazon Music, Soundcloud