By 2050, over two-thirds of humanity will live in cities, which are already responsible for around 75% of global CO2 emissions. Cities are therefore at the forefront of fighting climate change. Sustainable urban forestry is an integrative and cost-effective nature-based solution that helps develop greener, healthier, and more resilient cities. Trees and forests in urban and peri-urban areas provide vital benefits for health and wellbeing, sustainable development, climate adaptation and mitigation, biodiversity, and disaster risk reduction. This contributes not only to sustainable local development, but also to national objectives and to most SDGs.
Integrated long-term planning, design and management at the local and national level are critical to unlock the multiple co-benefits urban forestry provides. Furthermore, policy actions must be aligned across sectors and levels of government to be consistent with urban forestry objectives.
In this context, predictable sources of long-term finance to allow for proper investment decisions, planning and management, are required. Municipal budgets are often far too small, while national funds can help catalyse municipal spending on urban forestry, while aligning local actions with national objectives. Innovative financing instruments and the participation of the community, the business sector and private owners can play an important role in supplementing resources.
An effective engagement of the community, private owners and other stakeholders is critical to unlock long-term benefits and other urban forestry policy goals. Urban forests should be accessible to all (SDG 11.7), planned and managed based on principles of social inclusiveness and environmental justice, while considering the geographic distribution of benefits such as increased property values, disaster risk reduction and protection from future pandemics.
In this context, UNECE is preparing a Draft Urban and Peri Urban Forestry Opportunities for Action Plan that will identify opportunities to advance sustainable urban and peri-urban forestry in the UNECE region. This event will facilitate exchange of good practices among stakeholders from the UNECE region, while gathering input to inform the preparation of the Draft Urban and Peri Urban Forestry Opportunities for Action Plan.
Discover UNECE Trees In Cities Challenge, a global campaign of mayors who are implementing pledges to make their cities greener, more sustainable and resilient: https://treesincities.unece.org/